Children and Hyves
The most popular social networking website in the Netherlands is Hyves. It’s similar to Facebook or MySpace, but far more used in Holland: since it’s founding in 2004, the number of users has grown explosively and today Hyves has more than 8.9 million accounts. That’s more than half of all Dutch inhabitants! Hyves is mostly used by Dutch people, and was already very popular at the moment Facebook was introduced in the Netherlands. It still beats Facebook in number of accounts. The site is also used by famous Dutch persons like musicians and television actors. Even the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has an account, at this moment he has 191.025 “Hyves-friends”.
Hyves has several user possibilities. As a member, you can place pictures or video clips, send a message to friends (that’s called “krabbelen”) or write a blog. A lot of companies use the networking site as well, to advertise, because they can easily unravel which users are part of their target groups, by checking out the Hyves accounts. For a course of my studies, I wrote a short paper on the social use of Hyves by children. Children actually grow up in the “online decade” and may use Hyves in a very different way than someone who’s twenty or thirty, or older. You can download the article here (PDF).