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Facebook Is Getting Old Fast
By: Tori Mends-Cole
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Just shy of its tenth birthday, Facebook has grown exponentially from a young and hip fad among college students to a social media outlet that reputable businesses rely on for message outreach, brand growth, and more. Facebook's current functions and usability are a far cry from the purely social network developed during Zuckerberg's college days. Today, many respectable businesses use Facebook and other social media to start and listen to conversations related to their brands and industries; this is a good digital and overall mandatory business practice. On the other hand, colleges and even employers routinely use Facebook to research applicants, usually as a means to ferret out negative behaviors that could adversely affect academic or job performance. Smart teens strategically tailor their online social presence to avoid not only the prying eyes of parents and family members, but also that of potential future employers.

Youths play an integral role in bringing social platforms to mainstream audiences, but they can also be a very unreliable medium for innovation when it comes to longevity. For youth looking for an outlet to blow off steam or for entertainment, the necessary forethought needed before posting on Facebook has quickly made the digital environment a very serious and less appealing playground. With over one billion users, Facebook has too many authoritative figures like parents, police, and employers as part of the community. It's possible that becoming a mainstream social media platform has caused the fun and novelty of Facebook to wear off for youth. After almost ten years, teens and young adults may simply be ready for the next new thing that the older generations have not yet figured out or over-regulated. For example, microblogging has emerged as one of the new waves to catch.

Half of all Tumblr's visitors are younger than 25. With none of the security, spam controls, adult content filtering, and other safeguards in place, Tumblr is the exciting new unchartered territory that parents will caution against. In response, Facebook is retooling Notes, its largely forgotten blogging feature to hold on to people looking to blog. It hardly seems that Facebook is under threat of losing its population in any meaningful manner; inactivated accounts are in proportion to new activations and remaining users still sign on regularly to their accounts.

So far, Facebook hasn't had to experience the mass exodus that its launch caused for Myspace a few years ago, but according to a Pew Internet & American Life study, teens are joining Facebook at a drastically reduced rate than earlier years and than people who qualify for AARP. By the time their grandparents learn to use a social platform, most teens’ interest is waning.

Although this probably isn’t the end, Facebook is definitely getting old and grandma now knows how to like or comment on Facebook posts.

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About the Author
Tori Mends-Cole is the Communications Coordinator at the American Civil Liberties Union. She holds an M.A. in communication from the University of Maryland at College Park.
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