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Why Kids Aren’t As Into Facebook As You’d Think


Facebook is the default when people think of social media. It has the larger audience, a large number of them being long-term users, and it’s tied into logins and apps across the digital universe. You would think it has the hearts of young and old. There’s just one group that doesn’t seem to think so: the young group.

Recently, eMarketer shared some pretty interesting stats on where the big blue giant is going this year. The first is that, while numbers for their most popular demographic (aged 25-34) are staying steadily dominant at roughly 20.5%, the popularity in the 60+ group is growing, and popularity with teens is tanking.

At first, it just doesn’t make sense. After all, we are talking about computers and tech stuff – why the cold shoulder from the kids? Here are some things to take into account:

1. Their parents are on there. And if you can remember from your own teenage years, having mom and dad as cheerleaders for your every accomplishment is counterproductive to the establishment of one’s identity and independence. In others words, it’s crazy lame. I’m no psychologist, but I’m pretty sure “crazy lame” is a technical term.

Teens need a place they can call their own. And as long as parents are this involved, you can expect their kids to look somewhere else.

parents just dont understand

2. Older folks don’t take it for granted. Facebook came out almost a decade ago; which means for many teens, it’s been around for a good part of their lives. So to them, it’s like shoes or indoor plumbing. Older generations appreciate it more, seeing it as a huge improvement from what we used to use to communicate. Whether you’re coming from email, phone calls, postcards, the Pony Express or clay tablets, Facebook is a much nicer way to stay in touch, complain about politics, or try and convince others how unrealistically awesome your life is.

3. A low tolerance for advertising. People nowadays have more control of what advertising they’re subjected to. Wanna skip TV commercials? Use a DVR. Wanna keep from getting pop-up ads in an app? Pay the $3 to upgrade. Wanna be social without seeing ads? Use Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr or any of the growing list of alternatives. Young whippersnappers know they have a choice, and seem to exercise it much more often than those of us that have just come to expect it.

4. Just like everything else, Facebook gets old. I know people that spend an unhealthy amount of time on Facebook, but that’s not everyone. No matter what Facebook does to mix things up, it’s still Facebook and the same basics are there. Today’s kids have options, with game consoles, millions of other websites, outdoor activities (they still do that, right?) and their lame parents vying for their attention. Combine those options with the need to follow what their peers are doing, and don’t expect them to be faithful to one thing for very long.

In conclusion, Facebook is still a behemoth, and probably will be for years to come. At least until the teens of today bring something “cooler” with them to adulthood.


Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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