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Will Young Generations Use Facebook?

I was pleasantly surprised to see record U.S. visitor numbers for Facebook and Twitter for the month of July. Well, I was very happy for Twitter (I tolerate Facebook). I watched with anticipation as the new beast on the block, Google Plus, made it’s exclusive invite-only debut. It took off like a rocket, and engagement was strong. Things have tapered off a bit there, while I’ve seen a renewed interest in Facebook and Twitter. Just my observations as a heavy daily user of the platforms.

My 15 year old neighbor is NOT rooting for Facebook. I asked him whether he uses it or not, and he said, “NO, it’s stupid. I don’t have an account. Facebook is stupid.” When I inquired as to why he felt that way, he said “Because it’s like jail.”

His reasons for making this analogy?

1. You get poked by strange men you don’t know. (I’ve never been to jail, but I’ve heard stories.)

2. You write on people’s walls. (To be fair, I see prisoners in movies writing on their own walls, or scratching messages into their walls with shanks, but I digress).

3. You sit around all day and do nothing.

4. You have a profile picture (AKA a mug shot).

I enjoyed his take on the matter, and then it dawned on me. Will Facebook ever snag him as a user? And how many more young people like him are out there? I’d venture to say if all of his best friends were using Facebook, he would be too. Is there an up-and-coming generation that’s Post-Facebook? And what does that mean for Facebook’s future?

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think your neighbor has made some interesting observations quite honestly.  Some people tend to struggle with Facebook’s privacy rules as well which causes complications for one.  Although it’s great for business and one of the reasons being is the large diverse audience that frequents the social network.  Facebook continuously shifts and attempts to keep up with current times so there’s really no telling what they may do next. 

    • I still wonder why it’s not interesting enough for my 15 year old neighbor to join. One way to look at it: people that are not outgoing by nature might not see the utility in a service like Facebook. I can tell you that this kid is extremely outgoing – he’s from an entire family of extroverts. I assumed he’d go online and join his friends on Facebook. I should not assume anything!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m surprised that he didn’t talk about Farmville or any of those games that FB offers nowadays.  Dig in deeper and find out what’s beneath the surface.  I’m sure he has some privacy concerns at the least.  One of the things I’ve seen recently are too many trolls and fake profiles bursting out.  It’s come to a point of beyond recognition.  For the most part though if you stay focused it will yield positive results.

  2. Dylan Barber says:

    Facebook – is a fad – yes a popular and for the people involved and selling on it a profitable one – but like the other fads we have seen (myspace, AOL, yahoo) it will fade – I figure about the time its sold, bought or actually goes public will be the death bell of it.

  3. Facebook is huge and it will evolve over time.  It’s run by extremely smart people and it’s not exactly going to be dying down anytime soon.  In the end, competition is good.

    • I suppose the argument could go, “Well, there are plenty of people in their 30′s, 40′s and 50′s that also think Facebook is stupid.” The banality of content shared on Facebook and Twitter is often the argument against using the services. However, in general, I would not have expected a teenager to feel this way. Kids being kids seems perfectly fitted for Facebook. I just naturally assumed this normal, well-adjusted kid would have a Facebook account.

      You are so right about competition. I want to see Facebook step it up a bit, especially in the area of customer service. Many of us are not just the free users – we run ads. I’d love to see a little more attention paid to folks having problems with Facebook.

      Facebook is not dying soon; you are very right about that.

      • Good points and I think the level of banality depends on whom you follow.  Heh, I can only imagine what this kid’s feed would have looked like.  No wonder a cross-section of folks don’t care for it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Facebook will snare people because all their friends are on it. It’s peer pressure but not arm-twisting pressure, just ‘being where everyone else is’ pressure.

  5. Greg Howard says:

    First
    of all, I don’t know how much insight I would try to extract from a focus group
    of one, as that’s not a statistically valid sample.  :) 
    Considering that Facebook is used by plenty of young people, I think your
    neighbor’s attitude might say more about him than it does about his generation.

     

    That
    said, Chris, you raise an interesting question. 
    My take is that your question is not unlike others that folks in the
    online marketing world have been asking recently.  Questions like, “Is there a generation that’s
    post e-mail?”  Or, “Is there a generation
    that’s post-Google?”  It’s almost like
    asking, “Is there a generation that’s post-Walmart?”  You could say yes to those questions in the
    sense that each generation partially defines itself based on what previous generations
    did.  But Walmart isn’t going anywhere,
    and neither are e-mail, Facebook, and Google.

     

    The real takeaway from your conversation with
    your neighbor may be that statistics and conventional wisdom don’t explain
    everything.  As marketers, we have to
    target people based on their own sense of identity, and not just demographic
    info like age or income level.

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