January 16, 2015

What is the Facebook of the future?

21  comments

This is not a regular blog post with me talking about something completely awesome that you need to check out. Instead, let’s have a discussion about the future of social media. By this time next year, how will we be sharing information? 

This week I read “A Teenager’s View on Social Media — Written by an actual teen.” In the essay, 19-year-old student Andrew Watts wrote at length about the social media sites he and his peers use and why. It’s fascinating reading. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

  • Facebook is something we all got in middle school because it was cool but now is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave.
  • Instagram hasn’t been flooded with the older generation yet (not everyone has an Instagram) meaning it’s “hip” and “cool” to the younger crowd.
  • To be honest, a lot of us simply do not understand the point of Twitter.
  • I only know a handful of people (myself included) that believe Snapchat does delete your photos. Everyone else I know believes that Snapchat has some secret database somewhere with all of your photos on it. While I will save that debate for another day, it is safe to say that when photos are “leaked” or when there’s controversy about security on the app, we honestly do not really care.
  • Tumblr is like a secret society that everyone is in, but no one talks about. It’s often seen as a “judgment-free zone” where, due to the lack of identity on the site, you can really be who you want to be.
  • LinkedIn — We have to get it, so we got it. Many wait until college to get this (as they probably should, it isn’t for this demographic anyways).

His essay has been the chatter on tech blogs everywhere this week, with some saying he nailed it and others saying social media analysis is much more complicated than the view of one teenager. He doesn’t claim that his opinions are the ultimate social media truth. In fact, he says, “This article will not use any studies, data, sources, etc. This is because you can easily get that from any other technology news website and analyze from there. I’m here to provide a different view based off of my life in this ‘highly coveted’ age bracket.”

UPDATE — Was Andrew right? I talked to my two favorite teens about his comments….

The latest PewResearch Internet Project Social Media Update (released this month) shows that 71% of online adults are on Facebook. More than half of young adults 18-29 (Andrew’s demographic) are using Instagram, and half of all Instagram users use that site daily. Twitter demographics skew younger, with 37% of online young adults listed as users.

No matter if his opinions are just a small trend or if he is speaking the truth for his generation, you should read his essay for a wakeup call. While many of us still stoke the fires of our Facebook pages and link our social media accounts through IFTTT so that our Twitter updates post to LinkedIn, we all need to be thinking about the future technologies that we will have to understand and use to attract and keep members of future generations.

I’m NOT a social media expert. I’m working just as hard as you are to keep up with the newest places that our audiences hang out. Recently we put some effort into my Instagram and Tumblr accounts, but they’re still pretty pathetic. After reading Andrew’s article, though, I feel the need (or even the pressure) to make sure I keep growing into other social networks.

But what IS the next Facebook? And how do we as social media participants find the right path? This YouTube video is humorous but scary — today it’s Facebook. Tomorrow it’s WooWoo. And next week? Please leave your comments below. I don’t have the answer… do you?


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  • When I was a kid, there were commercials that said, “It’s 10:00. do you know where your children are?” We could ask that same question now. They may be sitting in their rooms, but do you know where they are on the web, and what they are doing? They aren’t on Facebook where we are. And where they are may not be as benign as Facebook either.

  • I’m already managing FOUR social media applications for my work: YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I quit doing social media personally because it just feel like more doggone work. If I have to keep adding the latest social media trend to my repertoire, I may just explode. I’m sick of social media, I would love for it to go away. Can’t we just meet for coffee and catch up? Virtual connection is a poor replacement for the real deal.

  • It’s not necessarily “social media” like fb or twitter or instagram, but my daughter has discovered Wattpad. She loves it! And has decided that her and a friend are going to write a fictional story about 1D & 5SOS on it. I told her, she needed to make up a new band. She told me that it is called Fan Fiction and if they didn’t want to be written about they would say so. OK. I am WAY behind the times!

  • I loved the article; kids got some decent writing chops and not too shabby sense of humor. But I wouldn’t take his take as gospel just yet. Here’s an article from Business Insider that shows that 84% of FB users are adults between 18-29: http://www.businessinsider.com/2014-social-media-demographics-update-2014-9

    I can tell you–with the taste of selfie-inducing bile in my mouth–that my younger cousins (13 & 16) are religiously posting on FB.

  • I think fb is still being used – may be great for group use too, but there are more platforms – Vine is fun and my 20 year old says Tumblr Pinterest and Instagram are her favorites.

  • I’m sure the way technology changes every day that something new will continue to pop up…it’s a little overwhelming sometimes with everything out there…….I know my young adult men do not use Facebook any longer because it is so “uncool” to be on a social media where your mom is and plus she can post on your wall and see what you are doing! 🙂

  • So many of my peers are on Facebook because that’s where they see the latest happenings of their grandchildren when their proud parents post. However, do I really need to see what these kids are wearing everyday?

    But… a private group to share updates about a premature birth and photos of our newest family member and how many ounces he has gained has been a godsend to the new parents and the rest of the family.

    So… Pinterest is something I enjoy to get ideas for my craft hobbies – and, tangentially, to keep up with my grand nieces current likes which gives me good gift ideas!

  • I enjoyed reading this. I have felt this was true but great to hear it straight from the masses. I think facebook appeals to the newbies (younger than teen) and the oldies (like myself), but its scary to me what other avenues teens and Gen x’ers are finding to engage. Seems like we always have to be watching out for the next thing to suck the life out of all of us.

  • From what I have heard, and I am NOT a Facebook adopter, people now use it primarily for invites and events, like Evites, because it’s easier than tracking down and entering all those email addresses. Otherwise it seems like mostly noise.

  • I think we need to ask these questions every single day and not be married to any one medium. As marketers, we need to go to where our audience is now as well as being able to anticipate where they will be tomorrow as well as using the platforms that best represent our product and goals. So, I use Facebook to target the adult public, Twitter to keep the conversation going with and between our members, Pinterest to tell the story and Instagram to spread the news. And, yes there probably are more social media channels in our future and that’s where these social media companies that do it for you will be making a million $$$.

  • The future next media hasn’t been been born, but it’s certainly evolving. It lies with our youth and their imaginations and the speed of the web. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • Just when I was weighing the pro’s and con’s of beefing up a company page on Facebook with MLS I saw the writing on the wall – Facebook has become an awkward family dinner party! I’m positive this young man is correct. The grandkids in my circle have me on Instagram. They Snapchat me but before I’m finished looking at their cute little pictures, they are gone.
    After reading this young man’s comments I got to thinking, who are my clients anyway. They sure aren’t the grandkids. Those kids can’t even find jobs poor little things. No sireee, I’m selling property to and for people who are closer to retirement age. They usually aren’t as technologically advanced as I am. So I went to the NAR website and sure enough they have the 2014 statistics right there.
    The shift in the way young people think and gather data is really interesting. Marketing to them will continue to be a challenge if they ever get jobs so they can start buying houses, but in 2014 52% of buyers and 60% of sellers used an agent they had used before or who was recommended to them by a friend or relative. I don’t mean to make light of the younger generation. My heart weeps for them because the world they are coming into is really tough. The number of first time buyers was still down last year.
    In light of NAR’s statistical information I’m probably not going to try to market through Instagram but a family dinner party might be the way to go. 🙂 I can evite all my previous clients for a pot-luck and remind them I’m still in business and doing good work.

  • Facebook doesn’t seem exciting. They are conversations that groups of people comment on that don’t have time to meet. I haven’t seen another venue though that a lot of my friends and family are eager to use.

  • Oh, I didn’t click on the link to the video at first. Funny. I agree with some others about Pinterest. My 24 yr old is getting married and she has a massive pinterest wedding page!

  • On the work front, 25,000 of our members are students, many in that 18-29 age bracket and most are under 40. If we are to remain relevant in the non-profit world, we’ll need to remain current on social media trends.

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