The internet is a mirror of the real world. The migration of users from myspace’s “trashy, fake, and open” social community to facebook’s “classy, clean, and private” community is an evolved form of the Great White Flight that occurred in America during the 50s and 60s. Now as the reading shows the percentage of students whose parents are well educated are more likely to use Facebook than Myspace, so at a glance it appears that being a member of Facebook is like being apart of an exclusive club for people who are of a higher echelon than the “common folk”. Social Networking Sites (S.N.S.) have the ability to provide a forum for individuals to keep in contact, share ideas, and further their knowledge of people, places, and things. S.N.S. are the new form of the country club, barbershop, hair salon, council meeting; Places where communities gather and reap the benefits stated earlier. However, along with the benefits of community there is a carryover of the same racial, ethnic, and gender barriers that exist in the real world.
Regretfully some individuals within society are more accustomed to labeling or stereotyping groups of people whether intentionally or unintentionally. Areas of the internet are considered “dangerous” for women and members of minorities because of this fact. While it is frowned upon to comment with racist, misogynistic/ hate-filled speech the internet community has become more fragmented in its pursuit to keep the ‘undesirables’ out. The “public, trashy, and fakeness” of Myspace was abandoned for something more “clean and user safe” such as Facebook but ironically enough the desire to maintain such appearances has further created a divide amongst users with differing perspectives on “taste”.
The internets ability to grant anonymity to users has allowed for more open, albeit brash forms of dialogue between users and viewers. Some of which can be viewed as insensitive. Unlike face to face communication there is little to no repercussion and context is key when understanding the meaning behind a statement. The motivation to hinder such dialogue is ideal to provide better communication amongst users of the internet and S.N.S. but the desire to hinder such “open” dialogue does not solve the problem, it just buries it. Statements meant to hurt, enrage, or embarrass individuals of different ethnicities, sexual orientation, and race are best dealt with head on. To show no fear in the face of such oppression carries more weight than to avoid it that’s why the Great White Flight proved to only make racial relations worse. A dialogue of understanding is needed to better enhance individual experience on the net.
So, the need to avoid the “unpleasantness” of the internet is an understandable one. The internet is an expansive wilderness with danger and uncertainty lurking around every corner. Knowledge is key and the only way we can expand on that knowledge is by learning from one another. Diversity adds more to the knowledge that we can gather. People who are closed minded and want nothing to do with people of a different gender, sexuality, or ethnicity will want to push those individuals away. Do not be like that. Accept the way the world is; which is messy, public, and a little fake at times. Just know that if you can get past all of the craziness that comes with it you can learn something because that is basically what the internet is here for.