boyd, danah. 2006. "Friendster lost steam. Is MySpace just a fad?" Apophenia Blog. March 21. http://www.danah.org/papers/FriendsterMySpaceEssay.html
This is an oldie but goody. was just re-reading for this chapter that i'm writing on social networking and thought i'd put some quotes and notes here for reference:
"Even when there's no prescribed activity, people are doing things on these sites. They're hanging out. They're dancing in front of digital mirrors. They're patting their friends on their digital backs. They're increasing the strength of their relationships through sharing. They're consuming and producing cultural artifacts that position them within society. They're laughing, exploring and being entertained.
People were hanging out on Friendster before they hung out on MySpace. But hanging out on Friendster is like hanging out in a super clean police state where you can't chew gum let alone goof around and you're told exactly how to speak to others. Hanging out on MySpace is more like hanging out in a graffiti park with fellow goofballs while your favorite band is playing. That said, there are plenty of folks who don't want to be hanging out in a graffiti park and they are not sticking around on MySpace as a result."
danah goes on to say how the tech doesn't matter, but I wonder if her perspective has changed with FB's recent moves. she wrote this post before facebook was big on the scene. FB is more of a clean (but not super clean) hang out spot. And people seem to be doing all of the same things that they do on mySpace and more of them each day. Is it just that these are the non-graffiti folks as danah perhaps suggests in her post on class and SNs? Or is it that people appreciate a clean UI and have been frustrated with myspace. Or that clean-liking people prefer a clean UI? Probably some of all reasons as is usually the case.
""Being in the know" is more powerful than money. You can't buy your way into knowledge of a rave. "Coolness" is about structural barriers, about the lack of universal accessibility or parsability. Structural hurdles mean people put in more effort to participate. It's kinda like the adventure of tracking down the right parking lot to get the bus to go to the rave."
She calls this is a form of "subcultural capital" vs. "cultural capital"
She notes about Friendster taking away rights and MySpace letting people do what they will.
A compelling example for emergent behaviors and letting go of control.
"Friendster didn't meet their needs and the core practices of identity production and social sharing that MySpace offered were not significant enough for this group"
later note: actually danah does talk about clean-liking people liking clean UI in that class essay which i've just reread:
"I'm sure that a visual analyst would be able to explain how classed aesthetics are, but aesthetics are more than simply the "eye of the beholder" - they are culturally narrated and replicated. That "clean" or "modern" look of Facebook is akin to West Elm or Pottery Barn or any poshy Scandinavian design house (that I admit I'm drawn to) while the more flashy look of MySpace resembles the Las Vegas imagery that attracts millions every year. I suspect that lifestyles have aesthetic values and that these are being reproduced on MySpace and Facebook."
boyd, danah. 2007. "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace ." Apophenia Blog Essay. June 24 . http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html
The aesthetics of class - hmm - i'd like to do more research in that area...
another great quote:
"Given the state of what I see in all sorts of neighborhoods, I'm amazed at how well teens are coping and I think that technology has a lot to do with that. Teens are using social network sites to build community and connect with their peers. They are creating publics for socialization. And through it, they are showcasing all of the good, bad, and ugly of today's teen life"