Since Facebook was first introduced in 2004 its popularity has sky rocketed, particularly amongst teenagers and the younger generation. The site was one of the few places where individuals could keep in touch with old friends, share photos and exchange new information or gossip. However, as the world around us becomes more technically advanced, more websites and mobile apps have been created. These new communication channels have also become increasingly popular and have started to overshadow Facebook which recently stated that it is are seeing ‘a decrease in daily users, especially amongst teens’.
With the introduction of messenger apps, Instagram and Twitter providing different alternatives to Facebook, teenagers are quickly becoming engaged in these apps. According to Mobile Marketing Magazine, Whatsapp is the biggest messaging app in the world, with more than 350 million monthly active users globally. Twitter has received 218 million users and Instagram has reached more than 80 million users, since it was established in 2010.
Aside from the broader range of social media sites now available, Facebook has slowly crept its way up to the older generation. A factor which could play a key role in why teenagers are losing interest. Mums, Dads and various other family members are jumping on the bandwagon and signing up to Facebook. Becoming ‘friends’ with older relatives suddenly hinders a teenagers privacy and the moment your parent comments on an activity of yours, the child can be somewhat traumatised. Due to this reasons, young individuals may no longer view Facebook as young or current and seek for another alternative.
Another possible theory is that it is quite common for people on Facebook to have a large selection of ‘friends’ they barely know due to adding brief acquaintances throughout the years (perhaps for a quick stalk). Whereas Whatsapp, in particular, only allows you to chat with your mobile contacts who tend to be a close friends you see in real life. Not only is this a safer option but it is also a more personal and accessible form of contact.
As Facebook users decrease, vanity amongst adolescences appears to be on the increase with the famous ‘selfie’ becoming progressively popular. MobileYouth claimed that almost half the photos on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) feeds among people aged 14 to 21 in the UK are selfies. This shocking statistic combined with the need for teenagers to document their lives with photos, explains the transition from Facebook to Instagram but it owns both channels so does it care? Instagram simply allows individuals to edit and display photos onto their page and to browse others photography; an ideal concept for teenagers these days.
It is fair to conclude that a mixture of factors has led to the downfall of Facebook’s younger market. If it wishes to turn this around they will have to find a way to be more current and attend to the needs of this younger generation. With youths losing interest so quickly, it is no doubt a difficult task however something must be done to save Facebook from someday vanishing completely.
This post was written by Nicole Atmore.