I really enjoyed the readings this week. Mostly because I use or have used the social media platforms talked about in these articles and because it gave me new ways to view them as well. I wanna start with White Flight in Networked Publics because this is something I saw firsthand happen when I switched over from Myspace to Facebook. When Kat was asked why many Myspace users were switching over to Facebook, she answered hesitantly because it was getting very “ghetto”; meaning many of the users still on the social media website were black or surrounded themselves with an urban crowd. I could easily identify with this statement because I can admit I had no idea what Facebook was when it was becoming semi-popular; I lived in an urban neighborhood in Perth Amboy where white kids were the minority in the classroom, even African-American students were scarce; Latin@ students were the majority and most of us were attached to our beloved Myspace pages.
It wasn’t until my Sophomore year in high school at Bishop Ahr, a private school in North Edison, that I started hearing about a new website called Facebook. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but when I tried to look at the site I figured out that you needed to be over the age of 18 and also, identify the college or university you were attending. Facebook was centered around college-oriented students and since it was founded in one of the country’s most elite campuses (Harvard University) it also became a social media website with a sort of prestigious aura surrounding it. Myspace was becoming crowded and had lost a lot of its appeal with users who no longer saw anything special about the website and posts became more scarce; Facebook was now becoming more popular because it was “cool” for us younger teens to interact in a website designed for older and more “mature” users. My high school was definitely made up of more affluent white individuals than my primary and middle schools, so Boyd definitely had the right idea in tying users’ backgrounds with the rising popularity of Facebook and the declining use of Myspace. Sure, Myspace tried to redesign, but it never gained its popularity back.
Facebook definitely took over Myspace, but for the past few years a new social media site has begun to take the top spot–Twitter. As an avid Twitter user, the ability to follow news stories, celebrities, and trending topics have been much of the reason for its growing popularity. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has the ability to grab the attention of millions of users in a matter of minutes because of the broad community and accessibility. In order to see most things on Facebook, you have to be friends with someone or stumble upon it by accident, Twitter’s diverse online community and convenient use of hashtags allow us to see a Tweet in seconds, and if enough people Tweet about it, the hashtag is automatically logged into the “Trending Topics” page.
This is how so many stories, including Suey Park’s #NotYourAsianSideKick, went viral so quickly. Suey’s successful hashtag was due to the many Twitter users who identified and related to her story, even if they were not Asian American. Minority groups are constantly stereotyped and labeled in this country and when Suey Park decided to Tweet her ever-famous hashtag, it was something millions could relate to. I think she understood that her viral success was due to the community-base she was able to tap into on Twitter by Tweeting about a topic so many could identify with. This was a topic people actually cared about, not a simple page you could Like on Facebook and go on with your day. People take the time to Tweet about causes and things they care about, which is why #NotYourAsianSideKick went viral.
P.S- While we’re on the trending topics and going viral news topic..
I’m just going to leave this here.