Boyd on Class & Social Network Choice

Danah Boyd is pondering some of the rich, loamy stuff she’s uncovering in her long ethnographic study of young people and social networks.

She’s finding signs that there’s a growing social class/standing divide between Facebook and MySpace among high-school-age kids, and she’s wrestling with precisely what that means.

Thankfully, before waiting until it’s all been strained of all personality and doubt and pinned to wax as an official “paper,” she’s putting her neck out there and sharing some of the ideas she’s struggling with. You know, starting conversations, asking for feedback.

Of course, lots of people don’t get it. The BBC posted a story about it as if it were a University-vetted “study” — and it’s getting slashdotted and everything, which is bringing tons of people to the blog/essay who don’t understand ethnographic methods, or her approach to social sharing.

But, all that aside, it’s a fascinating post in itself.

The “blog essay” itself is on her site at And the regular blog post where she explains it and is collecting comments from the public is on her blog at

It’s especially interesting to read through these comments. Of course, as I said, lots of people seem uncomfortable with qualitative, raw, conversational research-analysis-in-formation. There are also some who, in their snooty disdain for MySpace and what they see there, unwittingly prove Boyd’s point to a degree.

What a lot of commenters bring up is that there are important differences between these two social engines that may cause some of the results Boyd is seeing. For example, while MySpace allows a user to create an anonymous account and connect to anyone they want, Facebook requires you to be “yourself” on the site, and allows connections only through referrals or pre-existing offline relation (such as being from the same school).
here are other, more subtle rules-based structural differences discussed throughout.

To me, this is central to what information architecture (at least as I see it) is all about: creating structures (whether categories of content or logical rules for what can and can’t be done and how) to channel people in particular ways.

I mean not so much the tabs/categories/taxonomy but the rules-based structures: who can friend whom; whether or not you can use a pseudonym; what channels can be used to form networks; how much you can customize your personal page, etc.

I wonder why these kinds of design decisions don’t get talked about more among IAs? Though to be fair, it’s on the rise. There were some great sessions about it at the last summit.

I can’t help but have a strong gut feeling, though, that the IA of “categorization and organization” of static structures is going to pale in comparison in terms of importance and impact next to the design decisions behind rules-based structures such as this.

Tags: ,

  • Austin

    In FB, pre-existing offline relations are totally on the honor system.

    The main difference between FB and MySpace is that MySpace doesn;t care why you want to connect, and FB wants you to at least pretend you have a non-self-serving reason.

  • Pingback: Context and “Choice Architectures”

Manhattan Jews

If I was a celebrity I would have bodyguards everywhere I went. I even know where I would find the services of my fire watch new york. They would be at the top of the line.

I have a lot of respect for anybody who protects the public. That is why I am so happy to know these emergency action plan nyc. They are the best Manhattan security guards that anybody could meet.

I needed a nutritionist to help deal with my bourgening fat problem. I hired a nutritionist malvern pennsylvania to deal with it. Now I'm all better.

I remember the time I changed my course of study to become a dietitian in Malvern pennsylvania. I almost became a Dietitian Malvern Pennsylvania when I had a change of mind. I ate a box of cookies instead.

Why did my garage door get eaten? I got a big ol' garage door service boca raton and now I'm better. Thanks for this mom!

Now I'm really getting ticked off. I found my garage door broken boca raton and I'm foaming. I'm blowing a gasket!

My home is gone. Well not really because I got a foreclosure defense Hollywood to help out. Now I'm in severe debt.

I didn't go to court when I should have. My house is gone and I have a mortgage default Hollywood. It's time to pay the piper.

I got fed up with looking at myself. I broke all my mirrors and wall art online. Now I only have myself to blame.

I need some more products for my home. I'm a consumer and all I want is to consume affordable home products. Forget about my cigarette money.

My carpets are full of blood stains. My wife won't be around to...clean the carpets so I hired a st louis missouri carpet cleaning company. I'm finally free to do what I want.

Who is the brave karate dog? Dogs can't walk and talk silly but just watch this anti bullying video and feel better about yourself. Isn't it time you started fighting your demons?

I only read propaganda that fits my lifestyle. My favorite books are the bullying books inspired by my life in detroit. Now I tell others what to think.

The bank account is empty. My nights are rough without a Bankruptcy Attorney Phoenix to provide some cosure. Now I'm living in a loft.

I need an attorney for my laons. When I couldn't pay them back I knew I had to find the best Bankruptcy Attorney Phoenix or I would die. Hopefully I can survive this.

Used Rolex Florida | Used Authentic Rolex | fire watch new york | emergency action plan nyc