Social media hit the scene at the end of the 1990s with a website called Six Degrees; a site where users could create a profile and then connect with others. The reason I mention this is to emphasize the little amount of time that social media has actually existed.
I constantly hear friends and family joke about how their parents and grandparents aren’t able to figure out how to perform simple tasks on their cell phones, email, social media profiles, etc. It’s hilarious, but I often forget that they didn’t grow up with this kind of technology. Tools like social media can appear very complex and confusing, making it intimidating for those who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy.
Nevertheless, as time has passed, older generations have begun to adapt to the technology leap. Today, we are witnessing various social media platforms experience a major shift in its user’s age demographic.
Believe it or not, the most widely-used social media platform in the United States is not Facebook. What? Yes. According to the Pew Research Center, a 2018 study revealed that YouTube holds the title for most popular platform. It’s used by 73% of U.S. adults and has broad consistency in usage across demographic groups.
As you can see from the chart above, without the competition of YouTube, Facebook experiences the most amount of usage among all age demographics. Although, another recent study from the Pew Research Center reported that teenagers have abandoned Facebook in favor of other social media platforms.
So, why exactly is the younger generation moving away from Facebook? Well, some users believe that “parents killed it,” while others just believe that a new and improved platform will eventually come along and take over.
This got me thinking, what might Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg be doing to prepare for such an event? Will the large membership loss sink his company? Let’s just say that all members 35 and younger chose to delete their Facebook accounts, would the middle to older generation be able to support the company enough to continue running? Zuckerberg must realize that most of the older generation created personal profiles primarily as a way to stay connected with their children and others.
If I were a part of Zuckerberg’s communications department, I would possibly recommend conducting multiple focus groups with a variety of younger generation social media user to gain a better idea of what Facebook could be doing better to improve their experience. Also, considering what was quoted earlier, I might brainstorm some ideas as to how Facebook as a platform could enhance its services (upgrade) so that it would be more difficult for another platform to “take over” Facebook.
It’s wonderful to see an enhanced social media/technology aptitude improvement in the older generation as time goes on. It also warms my heart when I see a younger member in the community actively and patiently assisting those who struggle, as I firmly believe that humans are meant to teach and help others improve no matter what age they are.