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Facebook is Populated by Preps, Jocks, and Goody Two-Shoes

3 Jul

 by Matt Spaley

A doctoral candidate at the School of Information at UC Berkeley, danah boyd (she spells her name without capitalization), has written a blog essay on class divisions between Facebook and MySpace. The essay asserts that “hegemonic teens” (middle/upper class with some education) are all on or are flocking to Facebook whereas “subaltern teens” (poor, less educated, minorities, and those that identify with various teen subcultures) are on MySpace. Though she is careful to point out that her essay is not meant to be an academic paper, it quickly becomes clear that boyd’s essay suffers from some sizable problems.

The choice of “hegemonic” and “subaltern” as terms are an obvious issue which boyd anticipates:

“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.”

At best this caveat is a cop-out. By borrowing terminology from post-colonial theory boyd loads the essay with unnecessary baggage. Describing a group as “hegemonic” is obviously pejorative and boyd proves it through her descriptions: Continue reading

Addicted to Academia

30 Jun

I often listen to different podcasts of the rather dry, boring policy variety in my car.  Who can get enough of the Council on Foreign Relations or the Harvard Business Review?  Am I right?  Eh?

[crickets]

Alright.  I’ll just note that The Economist‘s weekly preview has a very pleasant musical intro and leave it at that.  But for the academic junkies out there iTunes has just introduced iTunes U, with podcasts, videos, and other assorted media from universities like Stanford, Duke, MIT, and Penn State.  MIT already has an open courseware site, so at this point you really shouldn’t consider going there unless your Everquest online girlfriend¹ has already enrolled.

Penn State grads can finally get their up to the minute Happy Valley nonsense on their iPods, like a video podcast of Joe Paterno’s colonoscopy and Graham Spanier’s speech announcing the opening of a new branch campus: Penn State Youngstown².

¹Just kidding.  What girlfriend?

² Again, I’m kidding, but admit you had to check to be sure.