First...danah boyd rocks.
Second, this analysis of myspace is really interesting in that it jumps into the culture shifts. "What we're seeing right now is a cultural shift due to the introduction of a new medium and the emergence of greater restrictions on youth mobility and access." ..."youth are doing what they've always done - repurposing new mediums in order to learn about social culture. "
As social change organizers, we need to understand the effects of the technology on the new alignments of youth bonding across a digital space. We need to find new ways to participate in the identity creation (assuming responsibility) process.
Technology will have an effect because the underlying architecture and the opportunities afforded are fundamentally different. But youth will continue to work out identity issues, hang out and create spaces that are their own, regardless of what technologies are available.
When I was a kid we went on camping trips with the Boy Scouts. On this "directed and supervised" space my frineds and I fought our turf wars,(alpha male fights) learned to be troublesome boys (mags,drinking,smoking, etc) and found the "open space" within the scouting process (30hour ahead of Scoutmasters on the trail.
We were also learning good things. The same could be said of school or after school groups (X-country running). The digital space misses the structured "arc of direction" that those other spaces have. At this point, older leadership has missed the power of online networks and online networking as a tool to shape and guide development of off line character.
We need to shift focus form organizing and online tools as a merely one dimensional (single group or issue focus) to some more social network support (care2.com). If we provide space for the richer interaction and identity creation and soul nurturing aspect of people connection thru technology we will create more powerful and dense networks to create change.
How is advocacy strategy for the next five years changing to adapt to the culture shift and personality shift emerging in today's connected age?
Unlike the 20-somethings who invaded Friendster, the teens have more reason to participate in profile creation and public commentary. Furthermore, MySpace's messaging is better suited for youths' asynchronous messaging needs. They can send messages directly from friends' profiles and check whether or not their friends have logged in and received their email. Unlike adults, youth are not invested in email; their primary peer-to-peer communication occurs synchronously over IM. Their use of MySpace is complementing that practice. Many teens access MySpace at least once a day or whenever computer access is possible. Teens that have a computer at home keep MySpace opened while they are doing homework or talking on instant messenger. In schools where it is not banned or blocked, teens check MySpace during passing period, lunch, study hall and before/after school. This is particularly important for teens who don't have computer access at home. For most teens, it is simply a part of everyday life - they are there because their friends are there and they are there to hang out with those friends. Of course, its ubiquitousness does not mean that everyone thinks that it is cool. Many teens complain that the site is lame, noting that they have better things to do. Yet, even those teens have an account which they check regularly because it's the only way to keep up with the Jo