Myspace and Facebook are trendy (one may be more so than the other) . In fact, regardless of the logic/science/rhetoric/ etc. behind many movements, in order for them to ascend to the masses they must become “cool” in the minds (conscious or unconscious) of its support (for example: organic foods, environmental protection, Wes Anderson films, Shark Week.) All of which, I thoroughly enjoy and support. For this reason, teenagers join Facebook and MySpace. As Danah Boyd explains, ” many considered participation on the key social network site, MySpace, essential to being seen as cool at school.” Paired with the quote in the article provided by a teen proclaiming “If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist,” one questions whether or not an individual may be “seen” at all without an account.
With this notion in the minds of teenagers, they create what Boyd labels “networked publics.” “Cyber Bedrooms” that serve as representations of the individual for the public to view at any moment in time. The individual does have the ability to set their page to “private” allowing only select users to peruse their page. Although this adds an element of privacy, the page was created in order for the individual to be seen. Therefore, when creating a profile “an individual’s perceived audience frames the situation” (Boyd). With this in mind, do networking sites lead many away from who they are and who they want to be, to who others think they are and who others want them to be? Or put differently, are teens asserting themselves or their peers by creating these pages?