Class Divisions in Social Networking

Danah Boyd, a PhD candidate at the University of California – Berkeley, has written a soon-to-be-published academic paper examining the trend of affluent, future-focused teens aggregating on Facebook, while social outcasts and the non-college bound stick with MySpace.  There’s an interesting argument, among many, that claims that class divisions in the U.S. are based more on social networks (in the non digital sense), geography, and other factors, rather than income levels.   Perhaps Cory Doctorow’s second novel, Eastern Standard Tribe, with the central conceit of people organizing themselves into classes/groups based on their time zone, was more realistic than I thought when I first read it.

If for no other reason, read the article for the terms “hegemonic teens” (“good” kids playing in the system, focusing on education) and “subaltern teens” (everyone else, but especially the fringe), which conjures an image of teenagers self-dividing into Eloi and Morlock. MySpace will definitely be the social network of choice for Morlocks.

2 thoughts on “Class Divisions in Social Networking”

  1. Morlocks eh? Do remember that the morlocks fed upon the soft, pretty and vulnerable Eloi. Do you visualise a race of beautiful well-educated Paris Hiltons being dragged into the slums and devoured?

    I can see that happen; an elite that divorces itself from the rest of “low-productive” society, concentrates on high-end jobs, and then lower class Morlocks rising up, when they are overmarginalized and Mad Maxing society and watch it all burn.

    We see the same scenario unfold in many thirdworld countries. Is that what we want, a model of desperation, stratification, ivory towers, mutual contempt, demonization, polarization?

    Look, I don’t like low education “ghetto losers” either, but if you cultivate that style of existence, won’t you be deserving of anything you get?

    Let’s not model the future of humanity on the palestinian territories. The Morlocks of the future are going to have a bite, when they have access to fast nanoreplicators, garage biotech, hacked robotics.

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