There was a thought once that Internet would eradicate social divisions and inequalities among the Americans but the emergency of Facebook after MySpace showed that this was far from reaching. The movement of teens from MySpace to Facebook brought about this reality. The introduction of Internet did not make people colorblind. In essence, the internet mirrors and boosts everyday life, advancing racism and class-based divisions in American society.
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Class and race are magnified in the social sites by tastes, aesthetics, and language and network structures. Many teens had used MySpace before Facebook came up, and it was cool for all until it was associated with black cultures that brought about hip-hop. Many elites, in this case, the whites, thought that this was endangering the lives of their well-behaved children. This led to banishing MySpace and forcing the kids to detach from the social site. It was associated with ghetto that was connected to the life of the black race.
MySpace and Facebook are not explicitly defined in terms of race but associations have proved this right. Social networking sites provide youths with a platform for socializing with friends for matters of personal preferences, safety and presence of their friends. The teens in America segregated along the same lines that shape their social relations, which include socio-economic status, race and ethnicity, educational goals and lifestyles.
Moving from MySpace to Facebook happened because of the above-mentioned reasons. It is true that values and norms of a person are directly linked with his/her identity and membership. Additionally, norms always differ across racial and ethnic groups, and as Tatum (1997) says, they are reinforced as people of color seek to identify with their racial and ethnic background.
MySpace was associated with gangster lifestyles, and this never went well with the elites. As a result, self-segregation emerged entailing belonging, identity development and navigated systematic racism. As a result, the Blacks preferred something that would show their lifestyle to the best advantage, something that would not compromise them.
With emergence of Facebook, which many viewed clean and well secured as opposed to MySpace with its spammers which had held its users as hostages, many teens moved to the new social site. The cleanliness in Facebook did not go well with the teens who preferred bling in MySpace to express themselves. These happened to be the mostly blacks, and thus, the segregation and movement touched on race and class.
Teens love style that brings out their identities and social groups, which MySpace allows them to express while Facebook is a little bit stringent on the same. This called for divisions, especially when people of color chose MySpace for this simple aspect while the whites moved to Facebook with its limited options.
These styles navigated race and class automatically. Additionally, taste was an aspect that was a key in teens’ engagements with MySpace and Facebook. Many of the youths listed their musical tastes on their profiles in MySpace. The most liked genre that stood out was hip-hop, which stemmed from the black culture. This made it easier for the black teens to bling in MySpace because of identity expression ability.
In conclusion, all these aspects touched race and class that led to the movement of some people from MySpace to Facebook. The social sites will always carry these aspects with them shaped by race and class. This is so because MySpace was viewed as for the ghetto, which signified uneducated people, while Facebook, just as it started in the college, was for the elites. The elites happen to be the whites here while the rest are the people of color.
Tatum, Beverly. 1997. ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria’ and other Conversations About Race. New York: Basic Books. Print.