MySpace vs. Facebook: Class barriers online
August 4, 2007 | 8:19 am
What’s a populist e-book-Web site to do? The other day, we started a small TeleRead group on Facebook (details coming, along with those for MyBlogLog, where we’re also present) in the hope that our community members could get to know each other better.
And if a few TeleBlog regulars became good friends or established business connections, that would be fine.
Where the bad boys dwell
But now On the Media, the ultimate media show from public radio, tells us that Facebook is on the elitist side and the great masses dwell in MySpace, home to rock bands and the like. Pretty obvious, of course, but it’s still a point worth making. Class barriers are popping up in “No One Knows You’re A Dog” Land.
Check out an OTM audio segment suggesting that Facebook is for nice students (and presumably alumni) with respectable .edu backgrounds who’d rather not brave the wilds of MySpace. The FBers apparently feel that MySpace is a bad boy like its owner, Rubert Murdoch. Author of the study cited on On the Media is Danah Boyd, a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Information Science at the University of California at Berkeley and also a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society (and an alum of MIT and Brown—with, yes, a Facebook account).
Oh, the horrors. At least the eBook Community list, whose main moderator, Jon Noring, has his own group on Facebook and kindly shared the Facebook idea with us, can help absorb the guilt. Perhaps in the future we’ll do the bad boy act on MySpace; it’s just an issue of time. Any volunteers?
Our real home: The nonexclusive Web
That said, I expect that the real business of the TeleBlog will happen just where it always has—on the totally nonexclusive (once you’re wired up) Web. Also, if you want messages sent kind-of-privately to other commenters and contributors, you can forward them through me.
The e-book angle: Needless to say, peer pressures will influence what books people read—or whether they read period. Quite wisely some libraries are reaching out on MySpace (thanks, Sarah). By the way, while I do worry about the time-sink potential of social networks, at least you can use them without IM-style interruptions. Certainly they hold some potential for online reading groups.
And speaking of bad boys: Shed a tear for the Weekly World News, which will forsake the supermarket news racks for the more alien-friendly world of the Web, where UFO-related abductions and impregnations live on.