Social site choices & user ethnicity

Social media researcher danah boyd caught some flak for similar observations last July (see below), but now research at Northwestern University agrees that "college students’ choice of social networking sites is related to race, ethnicity and parents’ education," a blog reports. The survey of 1,060 freshmen at the University of Illinois, Chicago (among the US's Top 10 universities with regard to student ethnic diversity) found that white students prefer Facebook, Hispanic students like MySpace, and "Asian and Asian-American students are least likely to use MySpace." That last group are "prodigious users of Facebook" but also like Xanga and Friendster a lot, according to the research, which also found "no statistically significant social networking choices for black students." The study's author, Eszter Hargittai, said in Northwestern University's press release about it: “Everyone points to that wonderful New Yorker cartoon of the dog at the computer telling a canine friend by his side that ‘on the Internet nobody knows you're a dog.' In reality, however, it appears that online actions and interactions should not be viewed as independent of one’s offline identity.” I think the New Yorker cartoon's just from back in Web 1.0 days. [Here's a Wired blog post on the study and my earlier item about danah's observations "Social Web's class divide?"]

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