21 March 2006

Space

Through out her writing danah constantly invokes a bottom up defense of youth culture. Essentially that the kids are alright they just need space and privacy to develop their own identities. It’s an argument I’m totally sympathetic to, but it becomes completely problematic when one realizes that something like MySpace just isn’t a traditional bottom-up youth culture situation at all. Rather it’s something more like an engine, a structure to contain the bottom up energy and transform it into something else entirely…

MySpace knows their users basic info, name, email, age, etc. Then it also knows their friends, their friends data, their favorite bands, the way they speak, who they like, who they don’t…

Not only does MySpace have an absurd amount of personal data on people, the sort of stuff traditional demographics companies have been collecting for decades. But it also has something perhaps far more valuable, a wealth of data on the relationships between all those people…

Abe Burmeister on the abstract dynamics of MySpace