Race and Class Divisions in Online Social Networks

23:25 Tue 29 Sep 2009. Updated: 01:26 30 Sep 2009
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I haven’t had time to formulate an opinion yet, but I respect past work by danah boyd and am quite certain that she’s onto something important in the research that led to her talk “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”, some of the implications of which she discusses in an interview, “MySpace to Facebook = White Flight?”. A key line: “We’re seeing a reproduction of all kinds of all types of social segregation that we like to pretend has gone away.”

That, in itself, is extremely important, and as more people use online arenas as “public spaces”, the fact that these arenas are actually deeply stratified and subject to a variety of hidden pressures becomes more and more significant. Also significant is how the other arenas, while technically easier to encounter because of all the wonderful information-sharing aspects of the internet, become almost hidden because stratification and habituation make each of us less likely, rather than more, to venture into spaces where we don’t have connections.

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