Reconsidering MySpace

Update July, 21 2010: danah boyd added this framing to her inquiry into race and social networking.  Regardless of the current demographics of social networks, people (teens in the case of the focus of boyd’s work) still speak about them with racialized/racist language that follows how people talk about physical spaces.

Since the subculture-centered Make Out Club, to Friendster, and through MySpace, and Facebook, I’ve always had social networking website accounts.  However, I always shyed away from them for the bands that I was on. Putting music on sites like MySpace used to mean granting them broad license for your content and I didn’t like the idea of arbitrary advertising being pumped alongside somehting that was deeply important and thought over by me and my bandmates.  This past weekend, however, someone mentioned to me the stark demographic differences in terms of race and age between MySpace and Facebook, claiming that Facebook users tend to be older and whiter than their MySpace counterparts.  Does a prohibition from MySpace mean that we’re cutting ourselves off from a more diverse audience and precisely the one that the socio-economic factors supporting DIY punk has already marginalized?  This sounds a little like marketing, but I feel like music can be one of those rare sites where people can connect across vastly different experiences.  I don’t want to squander the opportunity that I have as a public music maker to break through the geographic and socio-economic segregation that has mediated my life for a long time.