Race and the Digital: Racial Formation and 21st Century Technologies

Description of New Media Source and Statistical Data

The Platform & Data Sets

Facebook is an immensely popular [by sheer count of users] social networking site. Users sign up and create a profile, which they can link to other profiles by becoming “friends” with them. On their profiles, users can share status updates, pictures, videos, and comment on their friend’s posts of the sort as well. Reaction emojicons are also widely used to express a reaction without making an actual comment, these include the original LIKE button and now feature others like ANGRY, SAD, LAUGHING, and AMAZED buttons. One can also create groups where several users are linked and receive updates that pertain to their group. All of these can be made public or private according to user preference. The type of content posted by users varies widely, while many cat videos dominate user feeds (where everything their friends post shows up), many petitions and videos regarding social issues are also prevalent among the platform. Inclusively, anything posted can be original, linked to outside sources, or re-shared. The inter-web, using Facebook as a medium, has allowed people to link to each other despite time and distance barriers; it has expanded their networks to acquaintances and new online friends. As a media platform it also facilitates the dispersion of content to mass amounts of people at once. Therefore, it is interesting to examine the culture that has been built around the most popular internet social media website.
According to “The Demographics of Social Media Users-2012,” 67 percent of internet users actively use social networking sites, with Hispanics having the highest percentage of users. 83 percent of internet users who are between 18-29 years of age also use social networking sites. Education attainment is pretty evenly spread out, which means that education level is not an indicator of social network use. Intersingly enough, people with less of a household income have a higher percentage of social media use, which challenges the idea that rich, educated people are the primary people with access to internet and social media.
The  Digital Differences,”  (the Pew Research Center, April 2012) gives us insight into the observation is that Hispanic and Black individuals are more likely to use their mobile phones to engage in their internet use (enhancing other studies regarding internet-use that used household access as a determining factor). Facebook has gone through great lengths to create an application that is mobile-friendly, apt for cellphone interaction.
Therefore, I argue that Facebook is the one internet tool that is most universally known and engaged with by many diverse users world wide including minoritized communities. 

It is important to understand that the data above does not in fact account for all potential users and non-users. For example, there is little to no data on Native American and Asian decent users. However, there is user login information from certain associated countries.

"Facebook Users by Population" The Guardian, Nick Burcher 2010 has a comprehensive list with data from 2010 showing that Facebook is available to a vast amount of countries. Something to note is that It is popular among countries that are traditionally seen as “third-world” or developing, countries that may not traditionally be seen as technologically advanced (i.e. internet capabilities)  
Going beyond the reported numbers, just because some do not have an actual Facebook profile, that does not mean they do not engage or are affected by the website. Physically, Facebook reaches more people than those with profiles.

Additionally, from my own work with minoritized communities, I have seen community efforts (which often go unaccounted for) that provide computers and internet access which [at the very least] familiarizes them with the world wide web and popular websites like Facebook. 

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