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?

3 comments for “MyFaceSpaceBook

  1. Alex Janney
    October 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    While I think that it’s possible that networking sites could lead people, especially high-school students trying to fit in, away from who they are, I also think they can do just the opposite and make those who may feel outcast, feel more comfortable with their skin. Networking sites allow people to find others who share common interests and characteristics. A student who may be seen as “weird” or “uncool” in high-school because he or she is very interested in something unique, has the opportunity to go onto a networking site and find other people with that same unique interest.

  2. Ryan
    October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I think that it is simply important for teens to express themselves in general. Young people are still in the process of learning what kind of adults they are becoming and want to be. The more practice young people have with social activities, the easier it becomes for them to recognize, over time, who they really are. In other words, it may be a good “trial and error” process for these young people to modify their profiles and socialize in this very broad context.

  3. Ryan
    October 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Right on, Ryan. I totally agree with you.

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