Why Are Teens Leaving Facebook in Droves?

Collaboration – July 5, 2010

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Well, droves is relative but 19%, 1 in five, could be considered a drove…

Teens leaving facebookWhat’s causing this minor exodus is something I’ve written about more than a year ago. I call it the Social Marketing Paradox.

The Gazette finally breached the subject, and a research firm finally got the stats that validate my theory. If it’s too popular and too mainstream, its death is assured.

Facebook back then:

A place where students, peers of the same age group, could call their own, a home away from parents, bosses, and other authority figures. Oh, and let’s not forget the ‘no marketers’ aspect. I miss those days…

Facebook now:

A place where you can’t write anything personal anymore because even your grandma has an account, a place where employers (present or future) watch you like a hawk, and a place where everything revolves around marketing and people trying to push something on you all the time.

Facebook is becoming another MySpace. And we all know what happened to MySpace…

Let’s look at some stats (all this is recent: 68% of teens say in the last 6 months):

19% of teens have either abandoned facebook or visit less that a year ago.

When asked why, 45% of teens said that it was boring… Now, that’s a really bad answer, but a good question that pops up because of that answer is: “Why do teens find facebook boring all of the sudden?” Sadly, that opened ended question was not probed properly during the cited research so we didn’t get the answer… But I think we can formulate a hypothesis with the stats we did get.

Of the teens that could formulate an answer, one third (30%) said either because parents are on facebook or too many other adults. 28% said they’re more interested in other sites. 21% said because their friends are no longer on facebook.

All this can be summed up by simple concept. The Cool Factor. Why are 21% of their ‘friends’ no longer on facebook, why are 28% of teens saying that other sites interest them more? Simple: because facebook is loosing the cool factor.

What’s the cool factor? Also simple: if you have to ask, it’s what you are not.

But to understand it better (without the cynicism): It’s where teens can be free, where they aren’t watched, measured, and optimised, where they can express themselves and vent their frustrations without being afraid of jeopardizing their future careers, getting expelled, or losing their current jobs, and, most importantly, where marketers aren’t bombarding them with constant demands to click ‘Like’ buttons.

Wait a minute… That’s Twitter!

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