Monday, October 22, 2007

Facebook v. MySpace: A Socio-Economic Divide?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that HitWise research indicates that in the 10 weeks to October 13 the traffic to MySpace in Australia has dropped 5% while Facebook has tripled its traffic. The overall number of visits to social networking sites have also doubled in that period.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, since Facebook’s registration was opened to the public last year, the site has seen triple digit traffic growth, increasing 117 percent from 8.9 million unique visitors in August 2006 to 19.2 million unique visitors in August 2007. Facebook’s innovative features, the result of open their API to developers, are helping to drive the growth. This suggests that the momentum has moved in favor of Facebook as it picks up a larger portion of the new traffic while MySpace growth appears to have become static.

This data would also support the argument that young people are leaving MySpace for Facebook in droves and that MySpace is becoming the latest victim of a hot trend. University of California, Berkeley, researcher Danah Boyd indicates that not all teens (in America) are leaving MySpace, they're splitting up along class lines. "Who goes where gets kinda sticky... probably because it seems to primarily have to do with socio-economic class." Boyd studies social networks and youth culture and has made her observations based on formal interviews with 90 teens, informal interviews, and reviewing thousands of teens' profiles.

The "goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes or other 'good' kids" are now going to Facebook," Boyd writes, and that "Facebook was framed as being about college...Facebook is what the college kids did. Not surprisingly, college-bound high schoolers desperately wanted in."

Boyd also notes that back in May 2007, the military banned MySpace but not Facebook. She saw this as an interesting move because the division in the military reflects the division in high schools. MySpace is the primary way that young soldiers communicate with their peers. While Facebook is popular in the military, but it's not the choice for 18-year old soldiers, a group that is primarily from poorer, less educated communities. The officers, many of whom have already received college training, are using Facebook. Boyd asserts that the "military ban appears to replicate the class divisions that exist throughout the military. " Sphere: Related Content


Geoff said...

So many of of my MySpace freinds now say they Facebook.
So yeah

Geoff said...

Further to my last comment, I am finding more and more of my professional working friends that are on facebook, so concur with you comments. Facebook seems to attract a different and also the same crowd as MySpace.