Facebook … Losing the Cool Factor?


Facebook is losing ground among teen users.  FB noted In its 2012 10-K report:

We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook. For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram.

This could be part of the product’s normal lifecycle (even Beatles fans sometimes migrate to other bands).  Or it could indicate the beginning of a seismic shift as people make decisions about how they choose to interact.

With due respects to Melinda’s post, I’m not addicted to FB.  I get on maybe once every couple of months to update photos for friends far away.  But I don’t stick around.  Maybe it’s a generational thing.  Many of my GenX coevals are migrating away from FB … or never got on in the first place.

And so I was surprised to learn that younger users were beginning to drift away.  Facebook may be headed for a Facelift, a revamp that will bring back the apostates looking for the Next Big Thing.  In the case of FB, it may not have so much to do with cool.  People will use FB if they need it, and stop when they don’t.

Are you a FB apostate?  Here’s one guy’s Top 10 for hating FB (from facebookhaters.com):

1. Lack of privacy. If they say they protect it, then why do they always ask for more and more of your information?
2. It’s a (fake) popularity contest.
3. They don’t include a ‘Dislike’ button.
4. My high school bully sent me a friend request 10 years later
5. Someone posted and tagged that photo of me with my fly down.
6. People from work trying to befriend me.
7. Facebook’s creepy friend suggestions. Am I actually similar to these bozos?
8. Notification overload. I don’t log in for a week and return with 10,000 notifications.
9. The people that post the most often are the people that post the most mundane crap.
10. You can’t go one day without having to hear someone talk about Facebook.





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13 Responses to Facebook … Losing the Cool Factor?

  1. melrlawson says:

    Hey Will,

    I agree with you about the lack of privacy on Facebook. Even if younger people are losing interest in Facebook, it seems like there are a lot of older people (even baby boomers) who are joining Facebook. My mother in law is on Facebook and posts quite a bit. She says it’s a great way to get in touch with old friends. So, I wonder if the older crowd is replacing the younger crowd?

  2. willeverett1 says:

    I think some people are recognizing its utilitarian function and latching on, while those who did it just because their peers were doing it are moving with their peers to new experiences. Gotta admit, FB is hugely useful when it comes to families sharing photos and that sort of thing.

  3. Allison Cordova says:

    Hi Will,

    Interesting post. I can definitely see younger generations drifting away from Facebook and looking for the next best thing. I have heard from local advertising specialists that older generations are migrating more and more to Facebook. This may be yet another reason why the younger groups are avoiding it; especially the teenage crowd looking to avoid parental supervision at all costs! While Facebook is still very popular, I have always believed one day something else will replace it. Same to what happened to good ol’ MySpace. I guess time will tell!

  4. kristen.mercure says:

    Hi Will,

    Can we get this out the way first? There’s a Facebook Hater’s website. ‘Nuff said.

    As you and Melanie mentioned, younger users may be drifting simply because it is so ubiquitous now. Facebook was a private club for a while – college students only. But now it’s more likely that your mother is on and has Friended you than not. I can see teens choosing to find a place that is just their own. It also seems like texting is more common with the teen-set than social now. That’s private communications all over again.


  5. melindamenchaca says:

    You know, as much as I love Facebook, I agree with most of the Facebook hating list. I think in order to reach the younger demographics Facebook will eventually have to give the people what they want. Mark Zuckerberg never intended for Facebook to become like Myspace but that is totally what is happening. Just this week they added a feature to the status updates where you can add your mood and an emoticon. Very lame! I am not happy with this at all. Definitely reminded me of Facebook. I’m curious as to what age they’re referring to specifically. I liked Facebook when it was for older young people. Not this little teeny bopper stuff. I have a cousin who is like 10 and is always posting stuff like “StuCo was funnnnnn!” It drives me crazy because this is not what Facebook was supposed to be about. Facebook was supposed to be a new way to communicate with people all around you. However, as much as I love Mark Zuckerber (he’s my intellectual nerd crush) and Facebook, I won’t stick around for too long if they start going down the path of Myspace.

    Feeling conflicted……. :/

  6. melindamenchaca says:

    *** Meant to say totally reminded me of Myspace***

  7. maasaran says:

    Nice post Will! You can get what you want out of social media. In addition to staying in touch with friends you otherwise may not be able to stay in touch with, you can follow newspersons, celebrities, athletes, or even your favorite name brand. Take what you like from the grabbag.

    While Facebook, and now Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, among the other leading social media platforms, have created a commodity that many people can’t live without, today’s social media platforms better be ready for constant change. Remember when AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo! Instant Messenger were duking it out for IM supremacy? What happened to them? Facebook shouldn’t just worry about losing youngsters to other social media platforms – they should also worry about their UX model going obsolete. What do you think?


  8. milissa_douponce says:

    Hi Will-
    I think the product maturity is definitely a key factor in the diminishing popularity of FB. It was supposed to be a way to communicate and now with the all of the features and filters there’s a lack of authenticity and just feels like a social platform for bragging…incessantly… and publicly. Memes that had a lifecycle of weeks now have maybe a few hours. I guess I’m just fried on FB because it’s the torture of vacation of photos and kittens in hats 24-7.
    Thanks! Milissa

  9. jhuck says:

    Hi Melanie,

    As was mentioned in the posting above yours, FB can be a great tool in emergencies for people to blast out messages to friends/family. To your point though, I do believe there is a Facebook exhaustion. One of the things that I dislike about it now is the constant political postings.. it’s become a soapbox for people and that is getting old. MySpace seems to be making a comeback and becoming more of a music site and that might be why younger people are over Facebook. I’m ready to see what the next iteration of social media will be. I still use FB, but the love is long gone.

  10. amonda says:


    I really enjoyed reading your post, as it was both insightful and relevant to my perception of FB. I don’t use it that often, and quite frankly, have always considered it a fad that will eventually go away, but in all honesty, I underestimated its staying power. I do think that it will fade with time; or at least be relegated to a less dominant player in the social media spectrum, and your post offered support for my assertions. It’s like anything else (yes, even the Beatles) – nothing lasts forever; except of course taxes.

    Thanks for a really good blog post.

    Al Monda

  11. cmcoleman says:

    Great post, but is Facebook hating losing its cool? It seems like we’ve been discussing the demise of Facebook for so long it’s no longer cool. Facebook stopped being “cool” when it left the college campus for high school, and then got even less cool when people my age joined.

  12. kcn13 says:

    You got me at #4 (My high school bully sent me a friend request 10 years later).

    All kidding aside, I really enjoyed your post. I have a love hate relationship with FB. I am definitely addicted to checking out people’s status (FB Stalking) and post routine updates on my account about random nonsense, but I keep telling myself “I hate this thing.” Overall, I know I will never stop my FB account as I am the administrator for several group pages and business pages so I wouldn’t be able to shuck it completely but I myself have moved to using other social media to keep in touch with my tight circle of friends. Although I am several decades removed from being a teenager, I agree with you that the product lifecycle for FB seems to be waining and moving to the late adopter stages.

    Great post!

  13. guia says:

    Hi Will,

    What an interesting post! I wasn’t aware of the statistics that you shared, so this was all news to me.

    In thinking about it, I compare my FB usage to that of my brothers. My older brother (by 4 years) doesn’t touch FB. It’s a lack of time coupled with a lack of interest that keep him away. My younger brother, by 9 years, also isn’t very active on FB. He does have a page, just doesn’t check often.

    So the way it nets out, I’m the only avid user of FB among my immediate family. I like to think it’s because I am a communications professional and understand the value of social media. I personally enjoy seeing my friend’s statuses, photos and activities but that’s just me.

    I really don’t understand why FB is losing its popularity. Perhaps though it might be a shift back to FB’s original settings – for college kids only.

    Interesting post!