If anyone follows the social media space on a daily basis, it was tough to miss the excellent piece penned by 13-year-old Ruby Karp this week. As she explained in her Mashable post, Facebook is struggling to resonate with the next teenage generation. Funny thing is I agree with almost everything she says.
Facebook is heavily -- let me take that back -- I meant to say *overly* reliant on the social graph. As a 28-year-old, I frequent the network because 98 percent of my peers are on it. It's been an amazing way to keep up with old friends and make new ones from around the world (e.g. was an excellent resource during my trip to Spain last month for making & keeping friends from around the world).
Then again, I'm highly peeved by the number of weddings and babies that show up in my news feed. I can only imagine what Facebook is becoming for my 28-year-old single girl friends, and I won't be surprised if more & more of my friends depart the network before we know it. (MEMO to my female friends: live your own life and stop worrying about others).
While Ruby discusses how many of her peers are turning to upstart social networks like Snapchat, she gives additional reasons for why her teenage peers are turning their backs on Facebook.
Considering I was "invited" to join Facebook while I was a sophomore in college, I especially love this line: "Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have."
In Facebook's pursuit of world ownership, they somehow forgot that the kids hold the keys to the next generation. Kudos to Mark Zuckerberg for taking notice and scooping Instagram before they really hit their stride as the userbase has more than tripled since the acquisition.
As the Facebook upper age brackets continue to rise, the network becomes increasingly unattractive to the younger generation. If your friends aren't on it, you're surely not going to be compelled by your grandparents.
While Ruby's article harps on Facebook's potential lack of sustainability, I want to make two quick arguments for networks that I've longed believed will have greater sustainability: LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn possesses an inherent advantage over all of the other social networks: it is a professional network. If you're a recent graduate pursuing anything in the business realm, I don't care if your great-grandfather is on the network -- you need to be joining him. For this reason and many more, I believe LinkedIn has some great growth ahead of itself as I've longed maintained.
Twitter possesses a different kind of advantage, and it's known as the interest graph. Whether it is your favorite brand, your favorite team or your favorite celebrity, Twitter allows you to keep up with what you find most interesting. Although your interests may change with time, it's simple to follow or unfollow the accounts. There's a reason Twitter refers to itself as an information network as opposed to a social network, and I firmly believe the platform's sustainability is a catalyst behind that self-assessment.
While I have my doubts that social networks like Snapchat can survive the long haul, they'll likely be scooped up by Facebook before it matters to them... and Ruby Karp should get a commission check for shining a light on Facebook's glaring long term problems.