Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, January 23, 2021

Apparently, the “Web 2.0″ tag also serves as an age limit (sans that decimal point) for a good number of MySpacers and Facebookers. Teens and twenty-somethings are uncomfortable with encountering their parental-aged peers on social networks that used to be tacitly considered kids-only domains.

Nowhere are the technological turf wars more apparent than on social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which went from being student-oriented to allowing adults outside the college ranks to join.

Gary Rudman, a California-based youth market researcher, has heard the complaints. He regularly interviews young people who think it’s “creepy” when an older person — we’re talking someone they know — asks to join their social network as a “friend.” It means, among other things, that they can view each others’ profiles and what they and their friends post.

“It would be like a 40-year-old attending the prom or a frat party,” Rudman says. “It just doesn’t work.”…

Lauren Auster-Gussman, a freshman at Juniata College in Pennsylvania, says it’s particularly awkward when one of her parents’ friends asks to join her social network. She thinks Facebook should only be used by people younger than, say, 40.

“I mean, I’m in college,” she says. “There are bound to be at least a few drunken pictures of me on Facebook, and I don’t need my parents’ friends seeing them.”

It’s really funny how this conception of publicly-accessible Web destinations as “private” spaces still holds sway, even among a demographic that presumably should be more Internet-savvy. Part of that mindset indeed relies upon the idea that older people don’t glom themselves to the computer as much as kids do, but that’s obviously shifting.

If social convention deems me too old to have a MySpace page at age 36, I’ll gladly be a willing victim of ageism. Maybe once I’m old enough for it to no longer be acceptable, people will stop bugging me to get one.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/23/2008 09:03:03 AM
Category: Internet, Society
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