I’ve been hearing this in bits and spurts and it came up again today. “Millennials are walking away from Facebook.”
You know what bugs me? The articles that say things like this claim to have a sampling of 18-24’s that prove their point, but the psychology behind why people in this age group are on Facebook would not back up an assertion like this, regardless of who this mysterious sample is.
Stay with me: did you hear that this weekend Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally got engaged? If you did, this was less than 48 hours ago and you know and formulated some sort of opinion even if it was “I’m over their relationship.” If you didn’t you’re thinking “I thought they were engaged/married,” or “they’re so weird,” or “finally,” or something like that. Guess what the bottom line is? YOU DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW THEM.
Think about why people are interested in celebrities. It is because they are a common article of gossip for all of us. We all love/hate them together based upon gossip we’ve heard about them.
This is something you do back in school too. It’s why cliques exist. We love to align ourselves either with or against people. Facebook is the magazine/tabloid of school and then post-academic life. It has never been that for people who didn’t initially adopt it in school, but that is why those people can’t understand why Facebook is remaining popular.
Remember when “news feed” first came out? (And if you don’t, and you claim to be a social media expert…) Everyone hated it. It was an invasion of our privacy. That’s how gossip works though, isn’t it? I can know about you, but you can’t know about me. There are DEFINITELY privacy concerns with Facebook, but the fact that I can log on to the site right now and see pictures of kids in their freshman year of college getting drunk goes to show you that this isn’t a primary concern for this demographic.
Maybe I’m wrong. There are a bunch of surveys that say I am. Yet those surveys also cite the growth in presence amongst millennials on Twitter as one of the reasons Facebook use is in decline. You can use different networks for different things, but what do I know? I’m just a millennial.