In the last couple of weeks, I have spotted three articles that are predicting the decline of Facebook among young people. At the first I thought that the author was crazy, but a further two reports later (including one that claims that even Obama is aware of this trend), I have to admit that I’m wondering – could it be?
Apparently, more than 11 million young people have left Facebook since 2011, and the research shows that they are starting to prefer more simplified social networks such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. Obviously, these are no match to Facebook in terms of functionality and more “holistic stalking” (if there is such a thing, and for want of a better phrase). However with their forever ongoing updates, they certainly do fulfil the immediate-gratification needs of the generation, which could explain their rise in popularity.
It seems that Facebook remains popular with older users however, who use it to keep in contact with friend and relatives as well as to keep their immediate family connected (which admittedly might be more realistic these days than face-to-face interaction at home). Perhaps this indicates that young people will end up returning to Facebook in a few years?
I have seen a lot of friends deactivate or leave Facebook for various reasons – some because it is too big a distraction when they are meant to be studying or working, and others because they’ve experienced some privacy issue or wanted to be less available for contact for a while. But generally they come back: because it’s a means of staying aware of what everyone else is doing and a quick and easy way to maintain long-distance friendships, not to mention that you’ll probably miss out on most of your event invites without it.
For these reasons at least – and the fact that humans crave more contact than just a 140-character status or a self-destructing image – I feel like Facebook isn’t going to phase out completely for teenagers just yet. Of course, as per most things in this day and age, young people like to shelve the last fad as soon as something new comes along. So who knows really?
What do you think – will Facebook be more long-standing than other trends, or should we start thinking about deleting our accounts?