I'm with stupid.Admit it: you wouldn’t mind surfing Facebook, Myspace and Livejournal all day and then writing a doorstopper about socialization in the digital age for your doctoral dissertation, earning you a hefty degree and no discernably marketable job skills to go with it. That’s what we call uni, folks.

In the geekiest venture since the invention of fantasy sports, Internet nerds researched and wrote about Internet nerds, and all of them got together and had a party this past week at Stanford University. As far as we can discern from the report, the public forum on “New Media in the Everyday Lives of Youth” has the following to tell us about our screensucking, l33tsp33k-ing ways: read more »

The Clog likes to read The Economist because it makes us feel smarter and hey, let’s face it—look smarter too. It was our surprise, after scanning headlines, when we came upon a story about a little somebody named Mark Zuckerberg. You know, Czar of the Holiest of Holies: Facebook.

The article highlights Zuckerberg and mentions how bloggers liken him to Apple’s Steve Jobs and Facebook to the next Google. He’s near the top of his career.

But’s he’s not looking for an exit, says The Economist. It’ll probably be a battle between Apple, Google and Facebook for which company will rule the world. We’re not making this up. Zuckerberg told the mag “that he can, and should, change the world.” Facelife, anyone?

In comparison to social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook aims to primarily strengthen pre-existing connections—not to create new ones necessarily.

The article even refers to an “academic researcher” to prove that Facebook is classier. The researcher remains nameless, but we’re already seen her work. Yeah, Economist just referenced a rough, informal, web-based essay by Berkeley graduate student Danah Boyd:

bq. First, it is currently considered classier than, say, MySpace. One academic researcher argues that Facebook is for “good kids”, whereas MySpace is for blue-collar kids, “art fags”, “goths” and “gangstas”.

Sound familiar? Oh, Economist, we totally got there before you.

The rest of the article disintegrates in a way. After setting up a premise of the next big thing, it strays from its beginning to say, “Oh wait, we didn’t really mean that Facebook might possibly could be the next big thing. Maybe.” It concludes that
# Zuckerberg hasn’t had the opportunity to spew out crazy, world-changing ideas like Jobs.
# Advertising sucks on Facebook.
# It’s “awfully easy for one ‘next big thing’ to be overtaken by the next.”

Aww, what a cop out! Fine. We’ll just go back to our preppy Facebook lives and back to using random pages on the Internet as sources for our content.

Image Source: Elaine Chan and Priscilla Chan
Book value [Economist]
Earlier: Facebook=Good, MySpace=Bad?

UC Berkeley graduate student Danah Boyd recently released an informal essay about MySpace and Facebook. In her essay, she discusses a class divide between the users of the social networking sites.

While it certainly says something about how socioeconomics play into Internet culture, it’s kinda like an article you read in a theory class that basically articulates what you already know subconsciously. In that sense, it’s one of the first essays we’ve seen exploring the MySpace/Facebook divide.

Boyd adds a disclaimer in the beginning:

bq. We don’t have the language for marking class in a meaningful way. So this piece is intentionally descriptive, but in being so, it’s also hugely problematic. I don’t have the language to get at what I want to say, but I decided it needed to be said anyhow.

But the “stickiness” of her language, as she puts it, is a bit of a problem, especially when you make such a piece public and post it on the Internet for all to see.

Basically, she claims that Facebook is for the “good kids” and MySpace is for the “bad kids.” Granted, we left MySpace long ago, but if we were a 14-year-old emo girl with blonde and black hair, we’d be a little pissed right now.

Her most problematic piece comes when she addresses how MySpace and Facebook divide its users:

bq. MySpace is still home for Latino/Hispanic teens, immigrant teens, “burnouts,” “alternative kids,” “art fags,” punks, emos, goths, gangstas, queer kids, and other kids who didn’t play into the dominant high school popularity paradigm … MySpace has most of the kids who are socially ostracized at school because they are geeks, freaks, or queers.

bq. In order to demarcate these two groups, let’s call the first group of teens “hegemonic teens” and the second group “subaltern teens.” (Yes, I know that these words have academic and political valence. I couldn’t find a good set of terms so feel free to suggest alternate labels.)

As Berkeley students, we’ve probably all heard “hegemonic” before and even “subaltern” too. Here, they’re a little too harsh, dontcha think?

Don’t get us wrong–it’s a good beginner piece, but it’s got some holes. Like what about the older audience that MySpace attracts? Sure, it houses a bunch of high school teens and music fans, but what about the recent flux of 30-year-olds and (gasp) even 40-year-olds? Do those people fit in according to the socioeconomic divide that Boyd claims?

This sounds like a typical professor’s comment, but … we’d love to see Boyd flesh out these ideas.

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace [Full Essay]
Class war hits social networking sites [IT Week]

Slate recently featured an article written by a fiftysomething. So what? Well, this fiftysomething has a Facebook account, and she wants to be your friend.

It’s kinda sad to read about someone go through the harsh reality of befriending absolute strangers, but it’s also just weird. We mean, we stopped MySpacing months ago. It was getting old. And then we found our mother’s MySpace account. And then we found out she’s a lesbian. Awkward.

Sure, the whole Facebook-is-sorta-creepy thing is a little old and the News Feed really does fulfill our stalkerish desires, but we don’t know. We may be getting too cool for this party. You know you’ve got to bounce when even people your parents’ age are getting in.

Instead of decrying Facebook, though, the article praises it for its ease of social networking. Emily Yoffe writes that Facebook “is the greatest breakthrough for improving social interactions since the invention of deodorant.” Hmm. We’re certain the engineering students know about Facebook, but we’re not so sure about that deodorant part. Just kidding. (Maybe.)

Yoffe also admires the efficiency Facebook brings to relationships. She points out the use of the field for relationship status:

It was through News Feed that a friend of my college-student niece discovered her boyfriend had reset his relationship status to “single.” Another of her friends, after going out on a few dates with a fellow student, got the news on News Feed that he considered himself no longer single.

Dude, that ain’t efficiency. We don’t even know how many dates make an official Facebook relationship. Just avoid that one: stay “married” to your best friend of high school days.

Oh, and we may totally be getting too cool for the ‘book, but we’ve still got a group. And your mom joined it last night.

Facebook for Fiftysomethings [Slate]
I GOT CLOGGED! [Facebook]