Le Web 3: Danah Boyd: Youth Culture

Great fast paced talk from Danah on the dynamics of MySpace. Precis below.


MySpace is a unique marketing space.

What changed is the visibility of what is going on in the teenage space.

Teenager is a manufactured marketing term (before the term, they were called young adults)

Once they are a demographic we start to advertise to them

For teenagers, it is critical to their teenage life to participate, no MySpace ID and you don’t exist

Lets start with friendster – launched 2002, self defined freaks, geeks and queers

Friendster didn’t like this, and the users rebelled

Friendster started to kill of ‘bad’ profiles

MySpace went after the guys that got kicked out, particularly targeting musicians

Music is cultural glue for young people

The 20+ age limit on clubs limits access to teenagers

15 year olds look up to 18 year olds, 18 year look up to olds to 20 year olds

MySpace dropped the age limit

Now MySpace became a way to engage with their friends

The made a ‘mistake’ and allowed people to post raw HTML in forms

Cut and paste drove adoption (arrggh, the blink tag)

Now you have demographics and dating profiles added to the site

You can articulate your friends list and they can comment on you

Friends are “attention trust” friends rather than real friends

The new top 8 (my top 8 MySpace friends)

Removing somebody from your top 8 is a classic passive aggressive powerplay

Upper left hand corner (my significant other)

A way to establish my status

Its socially awkward to establish status to face to face

What are the social norms online?

Four properties unique to mediated existence, persistence, searchability, replicability (cloning), invisible audiences

Teenagers want to create an environment based on an imagined social audience

They are engaging in a public life with two populations, those who want to have power over them (parents, teachers) and those who want to prey on them (marketers)

How to get people to add you to their friends network (so you can market to them)

Now you have 2000 messages from ‘fake’ friends

Mobile is the future

All our media will converge (phones, web, TV)

We assume net neutrality, that’s not the case on mobile (you can’t invite all your friends)

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