Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Interesting Analysis of MySpace

Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace by Danah Boyd is good read that is getting attention out there. As previously noted MySpace gives me the creeps, but I am prepared for that to be just some kind of "...these kids today" fear of the unfamiliar on my part. I've thought since i was a teenager that i would always be wary of the impulse to ossify as one ages. I felt that our generation (Atari wave Gen X) was the first one (was it?) to grow up with the assumption that we would spend our entire lives in an inherently unstable world where technologies were constantly changing, culture churning, and that there would never come a point when we would be "done" running to catch up- and that was before we knew the internet was coming!

My itunes collection is very heavy on music from the 80's and 90's but i don't kid myself thinking that no better music is being created now. I'm sure that (as it ever was and ever shall be) 90% of what is being created right now is utter crap that will be forgotten in 10 years and some smaller percentage is timeless fantasticness that i could find if only i took the time to sift through it (aided, of course by our wonderful new cultural sifting mechanisms growing more powerful all the time - some one want to hip me to some new music blogs i should be reading?).

Boyd's essay seems to run contrary to Amy's concern about the hollowness of the social interaction on myspace. It occurred to me as i was reading that there is always a kind of hollowness to many of the relationships one has as a teenager- or maybe not a hollowness but a frantic quality? I can remember even thinking that at the time.

Another interesting (IMHO) bit in the essay was this
....majority of adults and teens have no desire to mix and mingle outside of their generation, but digital publics slam both together. In response, most teens just ignore the adults, focusing only on the people they know or who they think are cool.
Which strikes me as an artifact of the medium and the situation being new. It seems to me that what will happen as the digital public space matures is that teenagers (the next batch) will learn to 'double code' everything they do and say so that it will be either interpreted incorrectly or just incomprehensible to adults while saying what they want to say to their peers. The 'slamming together' of different age groups on the internet is like the slamming together of different subcultures that i describe in Is Karl Rove a Genius on Par with Marcel Duchamp Part I and propose as an opportunity for a new kind of artwork in Part II.

A couple days ago I was having an argument with a peer about wether or not in the future everyone will have a website, or at least a public profile / blog (i was on the "PRO" side of the debate). I wonder what the MySpace kids will do when they get to be 25- will they delete their profiles or just move them to another site and update them with a more mature font, a copy of their resume and a review of the nice little french restaurant they just found in the village?


At 9:38 PM, Blogger Valerie said...

I really don't know all that much about mySpace or Facebook, other than what I read in the paper the other day (already a day late and a dollar short I'm sure) and your entries and some other blogs. However, I wonder if the creepyness of MySpace has to do with the younger crowd not having enough boundaries as teenagers are wont to do, but now putting out too much information gets out to the internets and not just home room.

I put more info my blog than many but I assume that I will blend in with the billions and billions of bytes out there not to catch too much attention from either a) predators or b) the government. And I know enough not to put my address or phone number out there at the very least.


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