Facebooking with my Mom – The end of Facebook as we know it?

Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Social Media

As a member of the Net generation, I must concede that I am an avid Facebook user.

I’ll admit there’s been times of near addiction with Facebook, periods where I abandoned the site all together and, despite my growing boredom of drunken tags and indiscreet snapshots of my peers, I value Facebook as a (voyeuristic) outlet for maintaining connections.

Until recently the domain of Facebook was secluded to my friends from college, some from high school and a few distant faces from childhood.  But a few months ago my mother turned up, knocking at my Facebook door with a request to be my ‘friend.’ I accepted the request (of course!) Denying my mother a window into my internet life seemed cruel and a bit extreme. What’s surprising about my mother joining Facebook is the slew of other 50 something year olds that seemed to pop up around the same time.

Apparently, it’s a trend. According to Inside Facebook, women over the age of 55 are actually the quickest growing demographic on the site. Naturally, their ambitions in the social networking world vary from those of their children. Many report using Facebook and other social media channels to reconnect with long lost friends. Others contend that using Facebook enables them to keep tabs on their children’s digital lives.

Although Facebook has proven to be a wide enough of channel for over 250 million people, Baby Boomers seem to be crowding the space a bit. A recent study by OfCom in England shows that usage of people between the ages of 15 and 24 has dropped from 55% to 50% this year. In stark contrast, users, between the ages of 45-54, increased by 165% between December 2008 and February 2009.

I doubt that snooping moms are responsible for the drop in Generation Y numbers as of late, but rather the slew of advertisers that follow them to Facebook. The Baby Boomer’s invasion into Facebook’s territory may in fact be sabotaging its “cool factor.

It begs the question, “if Generation Jones killed Friendster and MySpace, is Facebook next on their hit list?”

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5 Responses to “Facebooking with my Mom – The end of Facebook as we know it?”

  1. Barbara says:

    As part of the generation that is always on the cutting edge, my question to you is what is the next ‘cool’ thing? MySpace was it until it became saturated and I think Facebook is next on the list. There is something nice about the whole family sharing an interest (or dare I say obsession) with the social media aspects of Facebook, but when mom shows up at your party, you won’t stay too long. So where are YOU going to go next?

    And BTW – I almost cried when you said your mom is a 50-something. She is closer to my peer than you are, my co-worker. :)

    And that ‘request to be my friend’ is the phrase that inspires fear in my world.

    • Ryan Rosario says:

      I think one could argue the next big thing is either Facebook or Twitter. It is amazing how much I have seen Twitter grown since I started using it in 2007, but the problem they have is 1) no business model, 2) a lackluster search function, 3) massive spam problems, 4) a small number of core functions, easy for Facebook to pick off, 5) a small number of privacy settings. If all stays the same, I see Facebook becoming the biggie (it already is). I prefer Twitter mainly because it is friendly to researchers, and it is more transparent whereas Facebook seems to have abandoned development of some of its features such as groups (no RSS!). Adding search was a huge move on their part, and if they do it correctly, it may end up with a monopoly on social networking.

      I think the next school of thought that will become big is location-based social networking, especially if more computers and mobile devices become equipped with GPS. Sites like BrightKite allow the user to “check in” to a location using GPS and see who else is around them. The user can also post pictures, notes etc. based on the location. I see this becoming part of Facebook, rather than some new service though.

      • Barbara says:

        Is Twitter a phase? With reports of upwards of 67% monthly churn, there is a real problem afoot. How do they educate and engage users to try and then STAY with the service. The devotees are there, but for mass appeal and a long term play, the adoption AND stickiness have to both be present.

  2. Camille Canon says:

    The truth is I am not going to desert Facebook, because my mom is there or at least not yet. The logistics are simple- I have too may contacts on Facebook, too many photos and I know the platform too well to abandon it without a very attractive new addition to the social media world.
    I think what’s going to happen is Facebook will rise to the challenge through new search opportunities and a very sophisticated social graphing system (like Aadvark) to expand the sites capabilities, while also allowing the user to venture further into the uncharted possibilities of networking. I think Ryan is absolutely correcting in saying that networks will cater to location, but I also think that interest, age, politics, etc. will play a considerable role in the definition of new groups and parameters on sites like Facebook. Such advancements would dramatically change the game in social media both for users and advertisers. I use Facebbok now to keep in touch with friends. If given the opportunity to tap into networks with defined common interests, however, like Art or cooking, I could use Facebook to learn. This would be a dream come true for advertisers, who would know why I am on a profile or a thread (like baking) and could define their audience down to my age, gender, interest, area, etc. It couldn’t get any better for advertisers.

    p.s. my mom’s a great hang, so i may be a bit biased. :)

    • Barbara says:

      Exactly why I think Facebook is a better bet for the future. People are there now – sticking around, engaging, talking about what more they want. And I believe Facebook – or its users themselves – will deliver on its promise and potential. Functinoal groups of likeminded individuals – whether by interest group like cooking or Art, or by personal association – will advance the platform, demand functionality, and continue to ‘stick’ to Facebook.

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