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MARCH 1, 2008    More below: SHADOWS


I don't often get messages like this one that appeared on my mostly-inactive MySpace page:

How's it goin? I'm Kristy, I just moved to the Cleveland area and I wanna meet a nice guy around here :). I moved here to Ohio a couple of weeks ago for work and now that I'm here I have nobody to hang out with! I read your profile... You're cute and I liked what you had to say :).

I'm 22/F/single and I'm lookin for a guy who is a little bit older or more mature than me. You say you're 61 and you're cute so I guess you're qualified :)

Well I have to say I was flattered—I can count on one hand the number of times I've been called cute—and she liked the fact that I'm more mature than her (by 39 years!). So I took another look at my profile to see what had impressed Kristy so favorably. Here, see for yourself.

Maybe it's my friend Tom who made the difference. I looked at his profile and he has 225,485,288 friends. I'm hangin' with the cool kid now. Oh, and that "single" thing? Nobody mention that to Joanne, OK?

Something's happening and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?

From time to time I think I should do more on MySpace and/or Facebook. I don't like being virtually clueless about a major social phenomenon clearly related to my area of expertise (interactive media) and a big part of the lives of many of my students.

An article about how Facebook and MySpace reflect American class divisions caught my attention a few months back. In the article Danah Boyd describes MySpace as “the cool working class thing,” and Facebook as the place for “goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes, or other 'good' kids.”

Informal polls I've done in my Tri-C classes support the author's contention that MySpace is the choice of community college students, whom I'd describe as predominantly working class. Boyd laments that “we can guess your class background based on the tools you use.” I don't know. It's not clear to me exactly what problem that creates. If we were all on Facebook together would that indicate a more equitable society?

Read Boyd's article and see what you think: Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace.

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Shadows and spray paint

Round sign obscured with white paint and graffitiI like the way the shadows from the branches blend right in with the graffiti that's obscured this sign's original message. Nature seems to be doing her own bit of tagging along the road in the Flats.

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