A UK study recently found that teens were saying that Facebook is not the cool place to be anymore, be it when chatting with friends or simply posting about their day.
Professor Daniel Miller from the University College London says that the very thing that began Facebook and made it into the multi-billion dollar giant it is today has now stopped supporting it. That is, teens have stopped using Facebook and some even say that they feel embarrassed to go on it when forced by their parents. Miller is at the head of an in-depth analysis of how Facebook is being used today. Called the Global Social Media Impact study, it involves branches of research in eight different countries with multiple city involvement. He says that parents once worried, not wanting their children to join Facebook, but now actually want their kids to be posting on Facebook so that they are able to keep up with their lives. However, according to the study, Facebook is essentially “dead and buried” to teenagers.
This does not appear to be due to the recent Facebook controversies about privacy or how the company gathers data about its users. Instead, the study says Facebook appears to be not cool with teens because it links in older family members, causing teens to shun the site and choose to use other social media to post and communicate.
Though also owned by Facebook, the photo-sharing app Instagram is quite popular with teens, as it can be used to see the posted photos of strangers as well as friends. Twitter reaches most people teens have passing connections to, while messengers such as WhatsApp and Snapchat are used to text and send photos to close friends. Snapchat is especially appealing to teens, perhaps due to the fact that messages are deleted after only a few moments, leaving no record for snooping parents or siblings to read later. Twitter is thought to be popular because it is so simple to use with its 140 character post limit.
Facebook has wanted to market itself as a utility, or something that works with everything people do these days and something that people cannot live without. They have a bigger goal than just keeping teens interested in their service, especially now that they have the baby boomers signing up in droves. The good news for Facebook is that although they may have lost teenagers for now, they haven’t lost the entire generation. The social media tools teens are using to replace Facebook are not full out replacements for the website giant as they do not necessarily keep long term relationships with friends. It seems likely that when they get older, teens may turn back to Facebook to keep in contact with high school and college friends they no longer see very often.
Facebook may also increase its ability to customize groups and posts to lead teens back to its website, ensuring easy ways to know that nosy parents aren’t able to see certain posts. In the meantime, according to what Miller’s study says, Facebook remains not cool with today’s teens.
By Marisa Corley