Thom: Facebook is the go-to social media source for teenagers and adults. While it began as a network for Harvard students, the website has played host to non-students and teenagers for years now. Throughout my teenage years and into adulthood, I have always used Facebook to keep up with old friends and look at pictures that all my Facebook friends posted. In middle school and high school, everyone had a Facebook. This included friends, other teenagers, parents, teachers, and pretty much everyone with internet access. In my first years of college, Facebook was still a valuable tool for looking up new friends, residence hall mates, and fellow classmates. But in the modern day, this social media is fundamentally changing.
People like myself and younger are the target audience of Facebook; teenagers and young adults. This audience on a free website is a goldmine for advertising, which Facebook has taken advantage of. However, there is evidence that this target audience is leaving Facebook for other forms of social media. Does this mean that Facebook could someday be replaced as the dominant form of social media?
Molly: Before Facebook became popular, there was Myspace. Myspace was very similar to Facebook as you could also have a profile and keep tabs on all of your friends and what they were doing. However, they had several different attributes that were unique. This difference was what allowed Myspace to be popular for many years. During these years, Facebook was being created and word of it was slowly spreading.
For a long time, facebook only allowed users with an .edu email. It was made specifically for college students. However when Facebook increased the age range of people allowed on their site, everyone flocked from Myspace to Facebook. In the long run, Myspace failed to update their company to keep up with the times. Keeping your profile updated and using the other functions became tedious and boring. Facebook was new and more convenient. Myspace went from the top social media to the very bottom.
I believe Facebook is on track with Myspace and has already replaced as the dominant form of social media. Facebook has lost millions of users each month. Although they are trying to innovate their site, there are so many businesses and adults on Facebook that I believe it’s driving the younger generations away. Teenagers and younger adults want to connect with those their own age. Some even move to other social media sites but still keep their facebook to keep in contact with their family members. People are always looking for something new and with technology today, there are several new social media sites that are just starting out. I believe people are going out in search of a new social media.
Thom: I definitely agree that there are several new social media sites that might replace Facebook. This is partially because Facebook has largely had a teenage/young adult following. But nowadays, parents and grandparents have Facebook too. Most young adults want to share their social life via Facebook, but find that challenging when their mothers might see pictures of their weekend escapades, or a chatty grandmother comments on some of their statuses. These older relatives often do not have Twitter, however. Older folks are just as sparse on Instagram too. For teenagers, these newer social media websites without parents are a haven to post their social media without fear of repercussion or embarrassment from their guardians.
Also, a growing number of underage children using social media further emphasizes the avoidance of parental supervision. According to many recent studies, children under the intended age range of social media often lie about their age to use such sites anyway. Most social media websites are limited to 13 years old and above. As with every generation, the younger children want to be like the older teenagers and use the same things they do. It is very easy to lie to a computer about one’s true age, so more than 80% of children lie about their age in order to use social media. On Facebook, this presents a problem for the underaged. Because many of their parents and relatives have Facebook, it is easier to get “caught” on Facebook than other social media. Facebook also suggests friends based on a number of factors, including surname. A parent might easily find their 10 year old daughter, posing as a 13 year old and with a relationship status set to “it’s complicated”, because Facebook suggested them as a friend. The underaged, however, can avoid this by using services such as Instagram and Twitter, where it is unlikely their parents will see their profiles and posts.
Molly: Not only do these young adults have to hide these things from their family but also from potential employers. Facebook’s privacy settings not only are complicated but they do not hide everything. It’s easy for anyone to search a person and see that picture from weekend escapades or a post using foul language. Employers can see this as immature and can cost the person a job.
Several times, I have seen complain about their job on Facebook and Twitter. What is different though, is that chances are, the company the person works for has a Facebook page. Liking the page, or saying you work there, allows that page to easily see your statues. The Facebook profile allows you to put such things like the company you work at, where you live, and what school you go to. So when a person looks at your profile and sees you profanity or breaking the law, they get an image of the company you work at.
Other social medias,such as Twitter, have simple setting where someone can hide all of their posts from those who they didn’t give permission to. Because of this, it’s kind of easy to see why people are starting to migrate towards other social medias.
Thom: As a student who will enter the career field soon, I too believe that Facebook can be a hindrance to finding quality employment. I, and many of my peers, have taken countermeasures to prevent Facebook from tarnishing our image in the professional world. Besides the obvious approach of not posting anything risky on Facebook, there are other ways of making your social media more appealing to the professional world. Take for example the professional-suited LinkedIn. This website allows users to post a profile picture (usually a professional headshot), a resume, career-related skills, and references. Not only are potential employers allowed to view my LinkedIn account, I actually want them to look at it. I have pictures of myself performing many desired skills relevant to my field for potential employers to browse, a list of skills along with approval from the professors I learned from, and my full resume available for download. Many other young professionals exist on LinkedIn, allowing users like myself to create a network to make finding potential employers easier. For these reasons, it is no surprise that LinkedIn’s use is rising among professionals to seek employers, and among companies to seek employees. Young people like myself who are soon to enter the professional world often invest more time in LinkedIn than networks like Facebook.
I think another reason why Facebook is losing way to social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram is portability. When Facebook got “big” and began to replace MySpace, most people did not have smartphones as we know them today. While it is true that Facebook has an app for every cellular platform, the concept of the website is simply not well suited for smartphones. The Facebook app is less than spectacular for fast entertainment, looking at profiles, and looking through photo albums. The app more or less show status updates from friends, through a clunky and confusing filter. Twitter is much more adept at showing these quick status updates from friends and celebrities. Instagram is much better at showing quick glimpses of friends’ photos, again succeeding Facebook.
Molly: I agree that that is a big reason why people do not spend much time on facebook. People on their way to work or in between classes or school just want to look very quickly at what is going on in the lives of their friends. Facebook’s new newsfeed is cluttered with rather trivial knowledge. Someone wants to know if a friend got married or is having a child, not that they commented on their other friend’s picture of a cat.
It’s also cluttered with different ads for pages and companies. In this article, it describes how facebook has updated the newsfeed to help spread information of businesses to users. Since Facebook has recently become a public company instead of a private one, they have increased the ads on their site. This gives them a higher profit which helps in the stock market.
Facebook has also started to copy other social medias. Using such things like the hashtag, that was first introduced by Twitter, Facebook seems to be trying to change to modern times but by replicated what other’s have done. Not only are the hashtags unoriginal, they do not seem to have a purpose. Unlike Myspace, Facebook is changing but instead of being unique like Myspace was, Facebook appears to be following the in crowd. As time goes on, I believe Facebook will become very unpopular and just like Myspace, will no longer be used as a common social media.
Thom: Just because it is losing popularity, I do not believe Facebook will entirely go the way of MySpace. When MySpace began to fade out, there was a direct alternative (Facebook) which did everything better and replaced it entirely. Facebook today does not have the same problem. The social media website is still used by millions to stay connected with friends and see what is going on in their social circles. Some of its popularity is waning among teenage groups that want instant gratification on a mobile platform, along with privacy from prying parental eyes, but that does not mean Facebook is second-best at what it is meant to do. The website is meant to find friends, stay connected with people you may not see regularly anymore, and keep track of events like birthdays and weddings. Instagram and Twitter, for all their convenience, are not as accomplished for these purposes. Adults are more interested in staying connected with old friends than teenagers, who are still in the process of making friends. Thus, Facebook will remain best at what it is designed for and likely have an older audience than it once did, but will not fade from the public eye like Myspace.
Facebook is losing its way to other social networks in many aspects. I think it will remain the dominant social media for awhile though, even if it is among an older crowd than it originally targeted. Even though other outlets are more convenient in a smartphone world, people will probably continue to use their home computers for social networking as well. In the home computer social network, Facebook is the best option. While it may decline in popularity, Facebook will be used as a way to find friends and reconnect for years.