Interesting new research out of UC Berkeley that suggests 'hegemonic' society- middle class, affluent and predominantly white- hang out on Facebook, while the poor and marginalized are at home at MySpace. The study was prepared by Danah Boyd, a PhD student at Berkeley. Here's a tidbit:
The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other "good" kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college. They are part of what we'd call hegemonic society. They are primarily white, but not exclusively. They are in honors classes, looking forward to the prom, and live in a world dictated by after school activities.
MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, "burnouts," "alternative kids," "art fags," punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn't play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm. These are kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school. Teens who are really into music or in a band are on MySpace. MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.
An interesting hypothesis, but I find the paper a bit short on evidence. It's anecdotal and doesn't provide much in the way of hard data. Still, an important first step in exploring how social structures reproduce themselves in the online world.
I'm also distressed that my own personal social networking site, "Graemester", is not profiled. The demographic is easy to pin down- exclusively white, about 6'2", bald, vaguely sarcastic males.