Facebook Isn't Dead, It's Just Aging Like the Rest of Us

Aug 14, 2013

Article ImageYet another tween is declaring Facebook "like so over", this time on Mashable. Thirteen year old Ruby Karp says that when she was 10, all she wanted was a Facebook account, and now - at the ripe old age of 13 - she's totally over it and so are her friends. Facebook is now the domain of their parents. Apparently all the cool kids are using Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, at least according to Karp. According to Pew, however, "The typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends" -- which hardly sounds like the statistic of a dying social network.

It's no surprise that kids are into the more mobile oriented social networks, since they are virtually glued to their smartphone screens. And study after study tells us that everyone, not just young people, are more engaged by photographic and video content. But this got me thinking about my friend, Melissa. Melissa - who is in her 30s -- likes Instagram's filters but has no interest in partaking in it as part of the "community." So she takes a picture, edits it in Instagram, and instead of sharing it she takes a screencapture of her iPhone screen and saves it to her phone. Then she uploads it to Facebook.

The first time she told me this I thought she was more than a little odd - especially since Instagram is now part of Facebook anyway. But then I thought a little more about it. Instagram and Vine are a bit of a free-for-all. Like Twitter, your content can be seen by anyone. Use a popular hashtag and before you know it you'll be getting responses from people you've never heard of. This is great if you're truly "networking" but if you're like Melissa -- or me, for that matter -- you probably just want to share your pictures, and random thoughts with friends and family and don't need a stranger from half-way across the country commenting on pictures of your #cutecat. (My cat pictures are for "Friends" and "Acquaintances" only.)

Yes, I realize this may be the first sign that we're getting old and crotchety.

Among her many qualms with Facebook, Ruby Karp says:

"Look at something like Twitter, where it's four buttons - people like the 'simple' design better.

It also became a huge marketing mouthpiece. Facebook takes your interests based on what you've 'liked' and put ads on your feed. No offense, but when I'm looking through my News Feed I don't really care about Pantene's new product."

Facebook isn't the only social network to push ads to its users (they've all got to make money somehow), and Ruby Karp will realize that soon enough, but I think she might be on to something when it comes to simplicity. Facebook has gotten increasingly more complicated, maybe even sophisticated, but that's kind of what I like about it. In some ways it's the "all-in-one" social network, which appeals to us old folks with jobs and other things to do besides managing multiple social networks. And frankly, we're the ones with the money, so, Facebook, don't worry if the teens aren't flocking to you right now, they're going to age just like the rest of us.