Race, ethnicity, parents education predict student MySpace use

November 20th, 2007 - 6:40 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 20 (ANI): A new research study by North-Western University has revealed that college students use social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace and Xanga based on their race, ethnicity and education.
The research led by Eszter Hargittai, assistant professor of communication studies and sociology at Northwestern University and faculty associate at the Institute for Policy Research, challenged the democratic nature of online interaction and disclosed race, ethnicity and the education level of ones parents can predict which social network sites a student selects.
“Race, ethnicity and the education level of ones parents can predict which social network sites a student selects, suggests theres less intermingling of users from varying backgrounds on these sites than previously believed,” said Eszter Hargittai.
The study found that Facebook is the social networking site of choice for white students, that Hispanic students prefer MySpace and that Asian and Asian-American students are least likely to use MySpace.
While prodigious users of Facebook, Asian and Asian-American students were found to use the less popular social network sites Xanga and Friendster more than students from other ethnic groups. It found no statistically significant SNS choices for black students.
The study did find statistical relevance between parental schooling and SNS preference and said there is a positive relationship between the two.
There seems to be a positive relationship between years of parental schooling and Facebook and Xanga use, and a negative one between years of parental education and MySpace use,” Hargittai added.
It suggests that social networking sites actually may contribute to a two-tier social system if, as the study suggests, people who already are interacting less with others on campus are also doing less interacting online.
“In a two-tier system, some college students cultivate lots of networks and social capital while others benefit considerably less from this important part of the college experience,” she said.
The 2007 survey found Facebook the most popular SNS, with four of five students using it, and three of four reporting frequent use. Only one in 1,060 students claimed not to have heard of any of the six social network sites included in the study.
MySpace was used by 54 percent of students, with slightly less than 40 percent reporting frequent use. Ranked by popularity, Xanga, Friendster Orkut and Bebo each was used by less than one of 10 students. (ANI)

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