I recently attended a diversity dinner held by one of the RSOs of University of Tennessee–Knoxville. Avon Rollins, who was a veteran of the civil rights movement, came to speak to students and fellow Knoxville community leaders to discuss the progression of America and to reflect on societal accomplishments; however, before the internet, no one fathomed using different social platforms to escape societal integration.
Over a year ago, Morning Addition from NPR News reported on self-segregation in social media. They related the transition from platform to platform in social media to a kind of “White Flight” migration. Please click the hyperlink to understand the following classism shift.
Even though the growth in sites show how we have transitioned in community identity, the composition stands relevant today. The idea is that different classes of people drift because, as it is described in the clip, the societal expectations that come along with each social networking site continuously change when the population is broadened. When a community increases on a website, the frequent visitors become more eclectic as well. However, as these young adults have described, “Facebook is more high class”; or, as another student corrects her friend’s statement, she says, “She means MySpace is more cluttered.” Then, I ask, cluttered with what? As the clip continues, one student describes MySpace as “trashy” because, as he describes, “… [t]he only people that use it are trashy people.” So,what does this say about the population of Twitter?
The majority of Twitter users are black. So, what does this say about the transition from Facebook to Twitter and the evolving interest in Pinterest? It reminds me of Expectancy Violation Theory because, until one becomes aware of the change or when arousal of change becomes evident, people remain comfortable with their social status quo. When too many “trashy” people entered their virtual, social space, they felt violated. So, the majority continued to flock.
MySpace was described as a place marketer’s advertised because the population of low-income families were more likely to click. In reference to Twitter, with the population standing at 25% blacks and 9% whites, one should consider why the changes take place. Is it because of what is popular or because of which is perceived as a site that attracts less “unclean” people?
In retrospect, as I sat listening to Mr. Rollins, I questioned the irony of “diversity” as I looked around the room to notice all white or all black tables when it came to the elderly generations; even at other tables, I noticed that blacks sat on one side while whites sat opposite. We naturally segregate ourselves on the bases of interest and similar views. So, I ask you all now, will self-segregation remain prevalent online until we can somewhat dilute egoism to innately integrate offline? Is this even possible with America’s history?