A recent feature in the New York Times Sunday Magazine labeled “Facebook Exodus” highlighted some purported trends regarding Facebook and it’s fading hold on certain demographics. Of course, Facebook proponents viewed this less as ‘highlighting’ and more like ‘hyping’ but some facts do remain, many of them courtesy of this iStrategy Labs analysis of Facebook statistics.
• Facebook is almost ridiculously popular, nabbing nearly 88 million unique visitors in July from the US alone.
• The six month trend for Adults 55+ has been a stunning 514% growth in new users.
• That same trend for high school and college age students is 16.5% and 21.7% less new users.
Because we live in a Twitter powered world of byte-sized information, those last statistics have been frequently mis-reported as those audiences shrinking by those percentages. To be clear, those audiences have still been growing but at far, far lower velocities. And that does represent a trend.
But as someone who remembers when our neighbors the Tanguays back in Radnor, PA became early adopters of cable television, it’s hard to be surprised to see changes to the platform. Back then, no commercials EVER came on cable–that was the whole selling point. After all, if it had commercials, why would you pay for it?
Obviously, things change over time. And the same is happening to Facebook. Personally, I’ve become immune to the chain letters disguised as apps–if you want to know my birthday, ask me and I’ll tell you but no, I won’t download another app for that honor. Nor do I want to fight your Ninjas or join your Mafia mob–it’s a newer face but not a whole lot more than the old Dungeons and Dragons bit. I’d rather play basketball thanks.
As Facebook matures and newer alternatives arise, the biggest challenge will be maintaining a positive signal-to-noise ratio among it’s heaviest users. So long as the contacts and networking stay simple to use and acceptably clean of too much unwanted junk, Facebook will retain it’s audience. Should that balance shift, it won’t.
Kind of like television. Imagine that.