There have rumors of the social networks demise for years. Mark Zuckerberg has laughed the rumors away, cashing in on the “Likes” and status updates with no worries. But there are some warning signs that the most popular social network on the planet is going to die a slow and painful death.
Remember MySpace? It’s still there. It started in 2003 and enjoyed amazing success from 2005-2008, when Facebook took over. It has been dying slowly and painfully since then. It has lost users – and revenue. Popular gaming systems have removed their games from MySpace. Interestingly, as we discuss what is happening to Facebook, MySpace has been acquired by Justin Timberlake. Everything he touches turns to gold… but he’ll have to clear out the tumbleweeds first. What he is planning for the site may revive it just in the nick of time. But I digress. Let’s just say that most of us haven’t visited MySpace in a very long time, if ever. It’s still considered the antique of social networks.
Let’s talk Facebook. The Pew Research Center reports that teens have a “waning enthusiasm for Facebook”. This decrease in interest is attributed to over-sharing and drama. But perhaps most importantly, their parents are using Facebook… and friending them. Teens aren’t giving up social media, so don’t think those pinging smartphones are going to stop. They are simply turning to other ways to communicate.
Twitter use has increased 16% since 2011, according to the Pew report. Other than Twitter, teens use Instagram, Tumblr, Google +, Snapchat, and Pinterest to varying degrees. The report also says that teens may be saturated on social media. On this point, I don’t agree. They just want something newer, better, cooler, and without adults.
Some teens are only allowed to use Facebook if they “friend” their parents so that their wall content can be monitored. This takes a little of the fun away, apparently. Kids don’t want parents commenting on their posts meant for the friends. Who knew?
But teens want cutting edge and Facebook just isn’t “it” anymore. There are more choices. Just as MySpace was the only real social network when it began, Facebook took over and was shiny and new. Now teens can use any of a variety of social applications available on computers and mobile devices. Why stick with the old standard when you can Snapchat?
Maybe Justin Timberlake can turn MySpace into a cool, edgy, new space for teens that is unique and eye-catching. Maybe we will go full circle back to it. Or at least teens will. If they do, they’ll probably hope that their parents won’t read about it and will stay on, playing Candy Crush on Facebook and sharing recipes as it becomes the hip place for the over 30 crowd. Then teens can take advantage of whatever Timberlake has for them and flock back to the newly renovated MySpace… until Mom figures it out and signs on, asking how it works and how she can be their friend.