Sunday, 10 November 2013

5 Reasons Teenagers Are Fleeing Facebook

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 Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.

The age-old aphorism wasn’t originally meant to describe teenagers, but it neatly captures a problem the granddaddy of all social networks—Facebook—seems to have. Facebook {FB}has turned in impressive financial numbers lately, and its stock has  so far this year, to around $48. But company execs alarmed some analysts recently by acknowledging that teenagers are falling out of like with the site that seemed like a phenomenon when teens first discovered it.

In a way, that’s a good problem to have. Many companies covet the cachet (and potential future customers) that come with a high proportion of teenage users. But old folks, no matter how uncool, tend to be the ones with money to spend today. For a while, Facebook had the best of both worlds:  A robust teenage audience that kept the vibe young, plus enough oldsters to justify high ad rates and juice profits.

There’s now a lot of competition, however, and Facebook is apparently losing teenage users to trendier networks such as Twitter ,Snapchat, Instagram (which Facebook owns), Tumblr (owned by Yahoo ,which published this story), and lesser-known online hideouts. To figure out why, I asked my two teenage kids (who in turn asked a few of their friends), plus a few test subjects recruited through Twitter. Here are the five biggest problems they have with Facebook:

Parents. Apparently they’re ruining everything on Facebook. “If you want to comment on something funny, and you see that somebody’s Mom already commented on it, you don’t want their mom to yell at you,” my 15-year-old son told me. Yeah, that’s a bummer, I consoled him. Many parents, of course, fear their kids will be stalked, bullied or somehow abused via Facebook, so looking over their kids’ digital shoulder is just another way of protecting them. I’m willing to go out on a limb, however, and bet that some parents simply think they’re cooler than they are, and would be crushed to know their teenage kids don’t consider them the best companions, even online. (Click below to hear my son further explain the problem with parents.)