Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On Danah, Facebook and Wales.

Danah at apophenia has written an excellent blog essay, (a rough work in progress paper) which she has called "Viewing American Class Divisions through Facebook and MySpace."

Its an excellent read, far better than many of the press articles describing its contents.

Regular readers of Danah's blog are I think aware of the way she works. She finds her own observations "disconcerting". It is interesting to note how many of those who commented on her thoughts, choose to criticise her rather than her observations which suggest that
"Hegemonic American teens (i.e. middle/upper class, college bound teens from upwards mobile or well off families) are all on or switching to Facebook. Marginalized teens, teens from poorer or less educated backgrounds, subculturally-identified teens, and other non-hegemonic teens continue to be drawn to MySpace. A class division has emerged and it is playing out in the aesthetics, the kinds of advertising, and the policy decisions being made."
I need time to think about her observations as I'm not certain how her theories might translate to the UK, or to Wales. I'm not convinced that the urge to Facebook or MySpace is as central to UK student life as it is in America, but it is growing. In the last week I've noticed several relatively prominent Welsh bloggers writing about the use of Facebook by politicians (locally and nationally) and by journalists seeking copy.

Here are a set of notes made by a blogger who heard Danah speak at Harvard.
The blog provides a good example of how a blog can be used to present notes taken at a lecture, seminar or tutorial.

Out of curiosity I've explored Facebook this morning and looked at the regional and college statistics for Wales. These figures are correct as of today.

The WALES network has 65,952 members.

In hierarchical order the college networks (in Wales) have the following numbers of members.

Cardiff, 15,104
Swansea, 6,447
Aber, 5,995
Bangor, 4,145
Uni Glam, 2,243
UW Institute Cardiff, 1,653
UW Newport, 716
Swansea IHE, 481
Lampeter, 469
Trinity, 333
RW College of Music and Drama, 332
NEWI, 356

A total of 38,274 facebook memberships.
(How many students are there in Wales?)
(How old are these networks?)

To make sense of these figures, some statistical work will be required to show the number of facebook memberships as a percentage of the student population of each of the colleges, as we are not really comparing like with like here. (I suspect that Cardiff on Facebook includes the College of Medicine.)

I wonder if I can find similar figures for Bebo or MySpace?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Mike, this also gives us the motivation to be using social networking in Education. Education Wales has to embrace these technologies soon......