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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites

Facebook logo Are there systematic differences between people who use social network sites and those who stay away, despite a familiarity with them? Based on data from a survey administered to a diverse group of young adults, this article looks at the predictors of SNS usage, with particular focus on Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, and Friendster. Findings suggest that use of such sites is not randomly distributed across a group of highly wired users. A person's gender, race and ethnicity, and parental educational background are all associated with use, but in most cases only when the aggregate concept of social network sites is disaggregated by service. Additionally, people with more experience and autonomy of use are more likely to be users of such sites. Unequal participation based on user background suggests that differential adoption of such services may be contributing to digital inequality.

Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 14

Over 99% of students had heard of both Facebook and MySpace, 79% use Facebook and 55% use MySpace, but there are statistically significant differences between usage when users are partitioned by race/ethnicity and parent education.

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