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Around the beginning of the year a host of articles came out signalling the death knell of Facebook, particularly a...
Around the beginning of the year a host of articles came out signalling the death knell of Facebook, particularly among young people. Claims of the social media giant’s demise were supported by research by anthropologist Daniel Miller, who found that Brits aged 16-18 largely declared having a Facebook account to be an embarrassment. Another 15-month study showed that teens from eight countries agree: Facebook is uncool.
This makes total sense: what normal teenager wants to be sharing their social life with their parents or even grandparents? Better to use more sneaky, stripped down and cutting-edge apps like Snapchat, Instagram and the ubiquitous Twitter. Besides, Facebook was never about the current generation of high school-aged kids. It was started for college students almost 10 years before these findings were released and quickly became the preferred way for friends to keep in touch post high school and university.
According to another analysis, from January 2011 to January 2014, 11 million people left Facebook. The biggest drops were among high school and college-aged users. But the gains among all age brackets 25 and up were far higher than those losses, especially among users aged 55 and over, a demographic that grew 80% in that time period. Uncool? Plainly. But it’s undeniably good for business.
And let’s not forget the 30-minute outage that Facebook experienced on the 19th of July. It may not have caused panic exactly, but it showed that that just 30 minutes without Facebook is newsworthy. Facebook’s 1.28 billion monthly users attest to the site’s continued — if not growing — relevancy, the youth be damned.
In some parts of the world, however, teenagers are still all about Facebook. According to a recent survey published in The Hindu, 76% of urban Indian teens have a Facebook account (though that figure has dropped 10% in the last two years). Twitter was found to be far less popular among the same demographic.
While some commentary may contend that Facebook is totally OK with a youthful exodus — or rather the failure of the younger generation to take to it like their elders have — Zuckerberg and co. are still making significant efforts to court the youthful crowd. Case in point: Facebook’s new Snapchat copy, SlingShot, allows friends to exchange self-destructing photos and short videos.
Yet there are still those who are somewhat certain of Facebook’s fading into obscurity. An article in Forbes compares the future of Facebook with the present of Yahoo, and has some numbers to back it up. However, the author’s main argument seems to be contingent on coolness and social media trends, not usefulness bordering on necessity, which has been Facebook’s modus operandi.
Facebook has woven itself into the fabric of society — and it is continuing to do so on a global level. Maybe your kids don’t like it, but that’s probably for the best. The young have left and the old have joined in droves. It may not be cool, but mostly likely neither are you.