Currently at 900 million users, Facebook is unquestionably the most visited online social networking site. But for how long?
Facebook has no real worries of losing its loyal adult users. In fact according to research firm Nielsen, users in the 50-64 age group made up nearly 1/4th of the sites users in March.
But the same cannot be said for the younger generation. Of today’s middle and high schoolers, most of them do have a Facebook account; however, many of Facebook’s young users are spending much less time on the site. Instead they check in with Facebook quite infrequently and are turning their attentions to other trending online attractions like Instagram, Twitter and Face Chat.
Though researchers say there’s no real evidence that Facebook is losing all of its teen users, their current lack of interest in the site is an obvious cause for concern. As former social sites like Myspace have shown, young fans are the driving force and longevity of social networks, and without their interest and support the site will eventually fail.
One aspect of Facebook that has become a teenager deterrent is its lack of privacy. Using your real name and posting personal stuff for the world to see is just not that appealing to the young users. For years their parents have drilled into them that anything you post on Facebook could haunt you for life, risking future jobs and college acceptance.
Teens’ chosen alternative sites are Twitter and Tumbler who allow its users to be more selective and private with their posts, and puts less emphasis on friending everyone you’ve ever met.
Facebook is completely aware of where it stands with today’s young population, and stated in its annual 10-K report, “we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram. In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement and our business could be harmed.”
Now the question that remains is, will Facebook reinvent itself to cater to teenagers and ensure its future, or will the social networking giant eventually fall?
[Image via sickfacebook]