This research article, Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites, reports on a research study by Eszter Hargittai in Communication Studies and Sociology at Northwestern University. It finds connections between use of social network sites and a person’s gender, race and ethnicity, and parental educational background.
One difference between this research and previous studies, which allowed them to reveal these patterns, is that it disaggregated users by site. Instead of lumping all social network users together, they separated them into Facebook, Myspace, Xanga, and Friendster. They found striking differences among the sites. For example, Asians and Asian Americans are much more likely to use Xanga and Friendster than Myspace or even Facebook. Sixty-five percent of Asian American social network users are on Xanga, and 94% are on Friendster, versus 31% on Facebook and 21% on Myspace.
Another difference between this study and previous ones is that it surveyed younger people- mainly 18- and 19-year-old college students. So instead of looking at the education level of the users, they look at the education level of their parents. They found that users of Xanga, Facebook and Friendster have more highly educated parents than users of Myspace.
I think there are more interesting facts to be found here, but I’m not sure what they are. I would be curious to know if the answers to the following questions can be found in this article or elsewhere:
What percent of social network users are Asian American?
What percent of people use social networks?
What percent of Asian Americans use Xanga?
What percent of Xanga users are Asian American?
The most surprising result of this survey to me is that only 30% of Asian-American social network users are on Facebook. I would have thought it would be a lot more.