Riva Richmond of the NYTimes asks, “Is the social media revolution bringing us together? Or is it perpetuating divisions by race and class?”
The graph above is part of a study done by Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern University, who surveyed both 2007 and 2009 first-year college students, ages 18 and 19, at the diverse campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hargittai is interested, among other things, in the socioeconomic differences between Facebook and Myspace. In Hargaittai’s research has “found that Hispanics were much less likely to use Facebook than anyone else and much more likely to use MySpace. Whites, African-Americans and Asian-Americans were all big users of Facebook, with 80 percent or more of each group using it sometimes or often.”
So why the difference? Riva Richmond writes, “Students from less educated families were still more likely to use MySpace, while those from more educated families were more likely to use Facebook. So is this white flight? Yes, but it’s not quite so simple, she (Hargittai) says. Everyone is fleeing MySpace, and whites and Asians are fleeing in larger numbers.”
We encourage you to read Riva Richmond’s piece in its entirety here:
Does Social Networking Breed Social Division?
Eszter Hargittai’s blog