Social networking is all the rage currently, as hardly a day goes by that Twitter, Flickr, MySpace or Facebook isn't in the news as revolutionizing the way information is disseminated, people communicate and stay in touch with one another and online friends are made.
Meetup.com was used extensively by Barack Hussein Obama supporters during the 2008 election and Black and white people were able to come together to ensure that change was brought to Washington and to America.
Facebook, a website that allows people to post pictures, write status updates, join similar groups and stay in touch with long lost friends, currently boasts more than 200 million users:
"In August 2008, Business Week reported that private sales by employees, as well as purchases by venture capital firms, had and were being done at share prices that put the company's total valuation at between $3.75 billion and $5 billion."From that information, you can devise that social networking is a lucrative endeavor. MySpace, the number two social networking site in the world - behind Facebook - is much different. You can upload photos - with very little censorship - and have your favorite song play when people access your page:
"David Itzkoff, in the June 2006 Playboy magazine, related his experiences of experimentation with membership in MySpace. Among his other criticisms, one pertains to the distance afforded by the Internet that emboldens members, such as females who feature photos of themselves in scant clothing on their profile pages or behave in ways they would not in person, and he indicated that this duplicity undercuts the central design of MySpace, namely, to bring people together. Itzkoff also referenced the addictive, time-consuming nature of the site, mentioning that the Playboy Playmate and MySpace member Julie McCullough, who was the first to respond to his add-friend request, pointedly referred to the site as "cybercrack". Itzkoff argued that MySpace gives many people access to a member’s life, without giving the time needed to maintain such relationships and that such relationships do not possess the depth of in-person relationships."Worse, MySpace has been losing money and users to Facebook and recently cut a number of its employees:
"Social network MySpace Inc. will close at least four overseas offices and lay off 300 people who work outside the United States. The company has been losing ground to archrival Facebook Inc., based in Palo Alto. MySpace said a week ago it would lay off 400 people working in the United States to save money"Black people love to socially network with other Black people, as Blackplanet.com has been online since 1999 and has served as the vital site for helping Black people connecting online:
Ourspace.com is a website directed at inner city Black youth, and a social networking site to help Black people connect to each other. In fact, Black people used this site to launch a "flash mob" attack on a white person in Philadelphia recently, showing that social networking and rioting go hand in hand:
"Police arrested Stephen Lyde, 21, today and charged him with aggravated assault in what Capt. Laurence D. Nodiff, commander of South Detective Division, called the "vicious" and "brutal" beating of a 52-year-old maintenance mechanic... Nodiff said that Lyde was one of eight males who knocked the victim off his bike and "brutally beat him to unconsciousness," leaving him with skull, rib and facial fractures, and internal injuries."So with Blackplanet.com and Ourspace.com, what use do Black people have for Facebook or MySpace? The former, apparently nothing, but the latter has become a haven for Black people as computerized "white flight" from MySpace to Facebook is making that site a veritable ghetto:
"A December 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that, over all, Facebook users were more likely to be male and have completed college, while MySpace users were somewhat more likely to be female, black or Hispanic, and to have not completed college. Since that study, however, Facebook has boomed and the social network landscape has no doubt changed significantly."These horrible findings, that segregation is not only a problem in how Black people and white people choose where to live, but in how they socially connect online, show that the social media revolution isn't bringing us together, but merely perpetuating division based on archaic notions of race and bourgeois ideas of class distinctions. And all of this is in the digital realm!
Not only is this a serious issue - when Black people have already self-segregated themselves on Blackplanet.com since 1999 and Ourspace.com, sites that only Black people frequent and have used to attack other people - but it has to have academics actually research the problem to ensure that "laptop" equality is practiced by all users of social networking sites:
"Hispanics are still the most likely to use MySpace (58 percent). Whites and blacks have diverged, with 30 percent of whites and 51 percent of blacks using it. And Asians, already the group least likely to be on MySpace, grew much scarcer (16 percent). 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 says. Everyone is fleeing MySpace, and whites and Asians are fleeing in larger numbers."Blackplanet.com and Ourspace.com are conspicuously absent in this "academic" study, as Black people have been self-segregating online since 1999, when Blackplanet.com was established.
Another academic, Danah Boyd, gave a talk to a self-described "liberal, overwhelming white conference" called the Personal Democracy Forum, and she read in her paper:
"Herein lies the reality that makes all of this quite messy to deal with. It wasn't just anyone who left MySpace to go to Facebook. In fact, if we want to get to the crux of what unfolded, we might as well face an uncomfortable reality... What happened was modern day "white flight." Whites were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. The educated were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. Those from wealthier backgrounds were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. Those from the suburbs were more likely to leave or choose Facebook. 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 would go on to say:
"We might as well face an uncomfortable reality ... what happened was modern day 'white flight'." Ms Boyd said MySpace had become a digital "ghetto". "The people there are more likely to be brown or black and to have a set of values that terrifies white society," she said."Any high school student who has a Facebook page will tell you MySpace users are more likely to be barely educated and obnoxious," she said.
Her interviews with American teenagers since 2006 showed that online migration mimicked the patterns of class groups' movements across cities.She found teens who preferred Facebook were far more likely to talk down to those who use MySpace than vice versa.
Ms Boyd said her research showed high school students found Facebook "more cultured" and "less cheesy" than MySpace."
Again, no mention of Blackplanet.com or Ourspace.com being hangouts only for Black people, but the fear of this woman is that digital "white flight" will further perpetuate divisions. This talk was given to an overwhelming white, liberal audience, by the way.
MySpace is becoming a ghetto, where white people dare not tread and Stuff Black People Don't Like now includes Facebook, where only white people dare socially network and Black people choose to stay away from. Even in the digital world, white people don't want to be near Black people and vice versa.