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Abstract

In 2007, the social networking Web site MySpace apparently overthrew Google as the most visited Web site for U.S. Web users. If this heralds a new era of widespread online social networking, then it is important to investigate user behaviour and attributes. Although there has been some research into social networking already, basic demographic data is essential to set previous results in a wider context and to give insights to researchers, marketers and developers. In this article, the demographics of MySpace members are explored through data extracted from two samples of 15,043 and 7,627 member profiles. The median declared age of users was surprisingly high at 21, with a small majority of females. The analysis confirmed some previously reported findings and conjectures about social networking, for example, that female members tend to be more interested in friendship and males more interested in dating. In addition, there was some evidence of three different friending dynamics, oriented towards close friends, acquaintances, or strangers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, female and younger members had more friends than others, and females were more likely to maintain private profiles, but both males and females seemed to prefer female friends, with this tendency more marked in females for their closest friend. The typical MySpace user is apparently female, 21, single, with a public profile, interested in online friendship and logging on weekly to engage with a mixed list of mainly female “friends” who are predominantly acquaintances.