Excuse me if I don't genuflect before the new "study" on class differences among the audiences of the different social network, which is getting picked up widely. Danah Boyd's research project, which purports to show that Myspace devotees are poorer and less well educated than users of Facebook, is superficially interesting. The conclusions coincide, satisfyingly, with the presumptions of Facebook users with snobbish disdain for the ghetto design of Myspace pages. And Boyd's essay has the patina of academic credibility, obtained through the liberal use of lingo from critical theory such as "hegemonic" teens — by which I think the author means the cool kids. But, astonishingly, there's a complete lack of survey data to support the thesis. If this Berkeley PhD candidate really had six months for the project, how hard would it be to recruit a few hundred survey respondents? And some of the conclusions are truly pedestrian: the research suggests that Facebook users are more likely to go to college. Well, Mark Zuckerberg's social utility started — duh — as an online facebook for college students, so it's hardly so surprising that it would do well among that demo.
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