By Hillary Kawahara July 21, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – I can’t remember the last time I was on Facebook for anything other than business. Whenever I share something from one of my 10 blogs (which you should all totally be following!) it automatically goes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr. But to actually connect with my circle of young professional friends, I use other social media networks. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when Facebook CFO David Ebersman admitted during a recent call with analysts, “We did see a decrease in daily users [during the quarter], especially younger teens.”
Facebook’s exodus, and why
If by “decrease in daily users” he means “mass exodus”, he’s on the right track. Earlier this year the digital consultancy iStrategy Labs released a study that draws from Facebook’s Social Advertising platform to see how many teens have left the social network in recent years. The numbers don’t lie. In fact, they are staggering. According to iStrategy, Facebook has 4,292,080 fewer high-school aged users and 6,948,848 college-aged users than it did in 2011. That represents an almost 60% decrease since 2011.
Whappened? Two words: mom and dad.
“It’s like the mom and dad version of Instagram and Twitter,” a Novalite informed me while taking about 30 selfies and posting them on Instagram. I immediately started following her.
She had a point. Your parents, aunts, uncles and even your grandparents are all on Facebook now because they think they are being “with it”. Nothing is more mortifying than having your mom post inspirational posters—or worse—baby pictures all over her wall. Why would any yopro want to post there?
Where are we going now?
The simple answer is, we don’t. The real fun and the real action is happening elsewhere. But there is at least one well-known social network that is attracting us yopros. Another survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, a research firm, found that 30% of young people say Instagram is now the most important social media network, followed by 27% that say it’s Twitter, while only 23% say it’s Facebook. That’s a whopping 19% decline since the fall of 2012 for Facebook. One quick browse of my newsfeed and I totally see why this is. It’s littered with mostly inspirational quotes, parents posting pictures of their kids, and videos of cats. (Though I admit they ARE funny).
Unite and Conquer
At any rate, Facebook has embraced Rupert Guy’s strategy of unite and conquer by pretty much buying every social site. They bought Instagram in 2012 and have recently spent $19 billion to acquire WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app with over 450 million users (of which I am one). Twitter and Yahoo did the same thing with services like Vine and Tumblr. This ensures that when we ditch them—and we will—we’ll jump to one of their other offerings.
When you think about it, the tech world is kind of like the fashion world—except with far less fashion and way less beauty. That means you’d better have the next big thing ready to woo the nomads or they’ll leave you behind on the trash heap of yesterday. Only, unlike fashion, in this world being retro is in no way charming. I guess it’s because of cats. And, I still love my parents.