March 8, 2013
Recently various media outlets have been squawking about how the younger users of the social networking site Facebook, the very same demographic that helped it become one of the biggest Internet phenomenons of all time, are now abandoning it at a steady pace.
Poor old Mr. Facebook, he is surely dead.
OK, so the death of this particular website might not exactly be imminent, but it is coming.
A community, be it web-based or otherwise, begins to die when the youngest residents effectively abandon it ó Iím always a little baffled to see that people are surprised by this revelation.
The Internet is a dynamic system and the ebb and flow of users will always leave some sites dry. This is especially true of social networking sites ó MySpace is dead, for most intents and purposes, and Facebook helped make it so.
And Facebook will follow suit some day, perhaps by the combined efforts of Twitter, Instagram and a new social networking site that doesnít yet exist. Itís strange to me that people of any age would abandon Facebook for Twitter, which is essentially Facebook that has been stripped down to just the status updating aspect. Itís Facebook minus a whole lot of features.
Sometimes the people want one-stop networking ó a jack-of-all-trades sort of online destination that doesnít do anything particularly well. Sometimes they want the best of the best and are willing to compartmentalize their experience to get it.
And despite the insistence of various web gurus, the younger generation isnít starting to bore of Facebook just because their parents and grandparents are starting to get their own accounts. Yes, thatís a contributing factor ó yes, that might even be the main motivation for some, but itís not the only one.
There are a few reasons:
ē The trailblazers of the Internet are the early adopters and with early adoption comes early abandonment. They can be quick to boredom and will move on with little warning even when theyíre not essentially displeased with the current experience in hopes of hitting the crest of the next big wave.
ē All the time I see status updates from my friends insisting that they are quitting Facebook ó most of them are lying and will be back within the week. Increased contact breeds increased drama ó before communication was instantaneous, conflicts were allowed a little more time to cool down. But now we can call each other out without delay and itís made social networking denizens steadily less passive-aggressive. So Facebook and other social networking sites will always be convenient scapegoats. They deliver the drama without delay right to our eyeballs and many are insistent on shooting the messenger. Facebook does not cause any drama, itís just a medium for drama you didnít realize was already there.
ē And, quite frankly, itís just become too much. The Internet is an independent, open source sort of place and they donít appreciate just being another source of income ripe for the bilking. They donít like having their personal information bundled and sold like hay bales. To a degree, the networking giant is a victim of its own success ó itís quickly become too cold and corporate.
Itís corporations all the way down and too many of them only put forth a bare minimum effort when it comes to social networking.
Iím going to give some free marketing advice to the various businesses, right here in Sedville and elsewhere, who think that a boilerplate brand page is going to impress people very long. Your business or organization is not going to be significantly more successful just because you have a Facebook page or a Twitter handle and digital affirmations arenít worth anything in and of themselves. Your profit margins or membership numbers arenít going to go up just because you tricked some unsuspecting people into thinking that naming a fish that doesnít have the letter A in its name is some sort of accomplishment. Collecting likes doesnít net you anything but likes.
Young people are leaving Facebook because other people of all ages keep filling it with garbage: ancient wacky pictures that werenít funny when they first hit the Internet at least 10 years ago; blatantly wrong facts only afforded credence because they are set on top of a picture.
Facebook wonít be around forever, but there will always be new frontiers for sharing pictures of your pets and the mundane running commentary of your life.