Do you use Facebook and/or MySpace in your ministry with youth? I've got a profile on both, but I use Facebook exclusively because that's where my youth spend all their time. I wondered recently why that is. Newsweek just featured an interesting article called "Social Networking and Class Warfare." The article highlights some anecdotal and ethnographic research that suggests that it may be social class that determines which social networking site teens use most. According to the researcher:
"The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes and other 'good' kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college." MySpace is still home for "kids whose parents didn't go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school."It's also, she says, the preferred digital hangout for outsiders—burnouts, punks, emos, Goths and gangstas. In addition, she says, Hispanic and immigrant teens are more likely to choose MySpace.
The researcher suggests that one reason for the difference is that Facebook began as a restricted site, open only to students at Harvard, then eventually to other Ivy leaguers and university students. All this makes me wonder what this research might say about where we need to be hanging out on the internet, depending on what kinds of teens we are trying to reach. Relatedly, I wonder how often we see this same sort of social class stratification in our youth groups. Do our youth groups tend to segregrate themselves, much as churches do, down lines of social class, ethnicity, and race?