Young Women and Social Media

I’m currently reading a lot about the way teenagers use social media, partly for my thesis, and partly based on fascination. One of the aspects that interest me in this context is the connection of speech/voice and space in relation to the new possibilities of the internet.

I just finished danah boyd’s great new book It’s Complicated, an in-depth study of kids’ social media use.Teenagers are increasingly isolated by “overprotecting” parents. As danah boyd argues, a result is that physical space where young people can just hang out with peers is vanishing, and the social media platforms give them an alternate space to socialize.

There is also an argument to be made that thanks to social media, “youth as a protected space” is evaporating, it is changing everyone’s self-consciousness. Sady Doyle discusses this aspect in a recent article at In These Times, and points out that young women aren’t “unarmed” in the “social media wars.” Young women are often uniquely equipped to handle the different pressures; for them, the Internet is home turf, they don’t know a world without it. Social media does have good things to offer, creating pro-girl resources like Rookie Mag, Scarleteen, and numerous tumblrs.

It’s complicated.