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OPLIN 4Cast #324: Facebook and young adults

Posted in 4cast

FB questionMany public libraries have active Facebook accounts, and many of them originally joined Facebook in an effort to connect with their younger library users. But nothing stays the same, especially not in social media, and it may be that Facebook will not be the best way to reach young adults in the near future. There is both anecdotal and statistical evidence of a growing shift away from Facebook among young adults. That doesn’t mean your library should abandon Facebook; it just means you should be aware that your audience is shifting.

  • Coming and going on Facebook (Pew Internet/Lee Rainie, Aaron Smith, Maeve Duggan)  “Young adults are the most likely forecasters of decreased engagement. Some 38% of Facebook users ages 18-29 expect to spend less time using the site in 2013, although a majority of users across age groups anticipate that their Facebook usage will remain largely stable in the year to come.”
  • The age of the brag is over: why Facebook might be losing teens (The Verge/Ellis Hamburger)  “When Facebook launched, it was cool to expose details about yourself, like what movies you like, what you’re doing right now, and who you’re in a relationship with. It was, dare I say, exhilarating — being able to share freely with the world without having to learn how to code or even how to apply a MySpace theme. At some point, adding these details, like hundreds of photos from a recent vacation and status updates about your new job amounted to bragging — force-feeding Facebook friends information they didn’t ask for. What was once cool was now uncool.”
  • Why teens are tiring of Facebook (CNET/Jennifer Van Grove)  “For tweens and teens, Instagram — and, more recently, SnapChat, an app for sending photos and videos that appear and then disappear — is the opposite of Facebook: simple, seemingly secret, and fun. Around schools, kids treat these apps like pot, enjoyed in low-lit corners, and all for the undeniable pleasure and temporary fulfillment of feeling cool. Facebook, meanwhile, with its Harvard dorm room roots, now finds itself scrambling to keep up with the tastes of the youngest trendsetters — even as it has its hooks in millions of them since it now owns Instagram.”
  • Teens say ‘later’ to Facebook, shift to photo chats (MSN Money/Michelle V. Rafter)  “Young fans have helped make Instagram and Snapchat the third- and fourth-most popular free photo apps for Apple iOS, and the Nos. 19 and 22 most popular free apps overall, according to mobile app researcher AppData. Kids who’ve grown up hearing their parents lectures on the dangers of posting inappropriate material online like the ephemeral nature of Snapchat, which many use to send ‘selfies,’ pictures of themselves posing, making faces or being silly.”

Business fact:
As mentioned above, Facebook may not be too concerned about losing teens from their site. The Facebook company paid $715 million last year to buy Instagram, one of the new, cool apps.