I gave a talk to a group of 15-year-olds last week. The talk was on media and my time as a radio journalist but we got talking about social media and I asked the class for a show of hands for how many people had a Facebook profile that they actively used? About 5 hands went up from a class of 20 students. Then I asked about Instagram, and 19 of the students had an active account.
The results are telling and for the first time, I saw cracks in Facebook’s future. Although not a scientific research piece, I began to probe the teenagers further about why they don’t use Facebook. The first answer was because it is for old people. The second predominant answer is that it is full of junk information, links, and content that is clickbait dressed up as friendly content. The teenagers didn’t phrase it as elegantly as that but you get the point.
I thought it would be silly to predict the untimely demise of Facebook as a global platform but when one of the kids asked me during my talk what Bebo was, I realised that global platforms do fall victim to the next biggest thing – and it usually happens pretty quickly.
From my own perspective, I use Facebook less and less. Whereas once I would have logged on every day, now, I check in every other day or when I want to connect with some friends. I use it mostly for social groups and messenger which are the elements of Facebook that are their greatest two assets. The urge to lose an hour looking at mindless videos on autoplay on my feed, each more outrageous than the next kinda leaves me feeling like I do when I have eaten a whole tub of ice cream on my own, full but not satisfied and definitely guilty.