Let’s all go back to Geocities
Here’s an interesting Prospect article on Geocities and online memory that also discusses the Myspace-Facebook class divide:
The decay of an online social space cannot always be pinned on corporate ownership. Online communities tend to mirror the shortcomings of the real world–racism, exclusivity, and class privilege. In a presentation at this year’s Personal Democracy Forum conference, social media researcher danah boyd asked what really separated users of the older My-Space from the newer Facebook. MySpace, started by the advertising company eUniverse as a rival to Friendster, has always had a low bar for entry, allows users to remain anonymous, and enables more customization of profile pages. Facebook, by contrast, was born at Harvard as an online version of freshman–orientation “facebooks.” It slowly opened admission to other Ivy League universities, then most colleges, and finally to the public at large. While both sites enjoy about 70 million unique visitors, in recent years wealthier, more educated users “were more likely to leave [MySpace] or choose Facebook,” boyd said. “Those who deserted MySpace did so by ‘choice’ but their decision to do so was wrapped up in their connections to others, in their belief that a more peaceful, quiet, less-public space would be more idyllic.” She continued, “What happened was modern day ‘white flight.'”
Dana Boyd’s 2007 paper on this trend can be found here. The online viewing habits of enlisted military personnel versus officers is particularly interesting.
So, perhaps we will get to sites too-big-to-fail? Social site bailouts?Report
We already have. Google is still losing money on YouTube.Report
I seem to remember creating a Star Wars fansite on Angelfire when I was in middle school. Goodness, I hope that thing’s been lost to history.Report
I made an awesome (for 1999), utterly nonsensical flash page at one point. On – yes – GeoCities.
And possibly a Powerpuff Girls fansite. That was a darn good cartoon.Report
Ms. Boyd’s equation of the Facebook migration to White Flight is as fine a defense of White Flight as I have ever heard. In fact, it’s exceptionally generous to the phenomenon.Report
Why wouldn’t it be? I’m trying to imagine an argument that folks (white ones, in particular) would have an obligation to stay on myspace rather than move somewhere else and I’m failing.Report
I meant generous to White Flight.
The migration from MySpace to Facebook is almost entirely benign (I say “almost” simply because I concede there may be something wrong with it that I hadn’t thought of).
Though I think The Case Against White Flight is overblown, but there are negative consequences at the civic level and some unsavory motives that simply don’t exist in the case of MySpace and Facebook.Report
And to think that you fools mocked me when you heard that I was shelling out for a GeoPlus account! Well who is laughing now? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!Report