Gartner Blog Network

Facebook Isn’t Un-cool, You’re Un-cool.

by Jenny Sussin  |  April 16, 2012  |  6 Comments

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.

Category: 360  social-media  

Tags: 18  24  cool  decline  facebook  millennial  millennials  networking  social  twitter  

Jenny Sussin
Research Director
6 years with Gartner
7 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Research Director in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Facebook Isn’t Un-cool, You’re Un-cool.

  1. Doug Laney says:

    I tweeted this post but didn’t, like, post it on FB…so, like, you know…I could pretend, like, I’m a millennial, you know.

  2. Jenny Sussin says:

    I’ll have you know Laney, I’ve stopped using “umm” as much as I used to. “Like” is still fair game. (Game I am ashamed of.)

  3. Naoise Uisneach says:

    Facebook is in decline because the novelty has worn off, the voyeurism that it allows is unsettling and people are realising the privacy implications of handing personal and intimate information to a corporation. It will shrink back to a core of 200m and 700m+ inactive accounts. Doesn’t mean the end of social media, just a maturation of tools available.

    • Jenny Sussin says:

      Agree to a degree – but the voyeuristic (is that a word?) aspect of it all is what people secretly enjoy. Perhaps not everyone, but a core group of regular users. As to the core of 200m, I’m not familiar enough anymore with the demographics breakdown but I think we’ll find users who adopted Facebook prior to it’s broad release (so those with college IDs in the early years) will stick with it and people who look to use it for some sort of professional gain will back away. That is *unless* one of the career applications like Branch Out builds enough momentum through the platform that a new use case emerges.

  4. Damien says:

    Personally I think that Facebook will remain a mainstay in society for as long as people are willing to share their business with everyone.
    I personally deactivated my Facebook account over 4 weeks ago, and although I do miss certain aspects of it, there are many that I do not.
    Having joined when I first started University, and required a University email address to do so, it is quite a massive gap to fill, as for almost 6 years I used the site at least once per day (even more so once I had access to the Facebook application on a smartphone).
    I have recently joined Path, and I find it a much more pleasant experience, but getting friends to join and use it has proven incredibly difficult given that about 99.9% of people I know are Facebook users.

  5. Jenny Sussin says:

    Right, I think that is the problem. It was the same problem with Google+, harvesting a critical mass of people to make a community worth the same or greater value to you than Facebook is/was.

    Once/if Path starts getting big, you’ll have a similar noise issue as you have on Facebook.

    If I may, what do you like about Path that you were frustrated with on Facebook?

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.