Facebook is dead and buried? Really?

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A study of young people using Facebook funded by the E.U. has found that Facebook is “not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried.” This per Matthew Sparkes (@Sparkes) reporting for the Telegraph this morning.

Professor Daniel Miller (@DannyAnth) of University College London, one of the researchers working on the project, writes that the reason Facebook is dying among 16-18 year olds is because adults are using it.

This year marked the start of what looks likely to be a sustained decline of what had been the most pervasive of all social networking sites. Young people are turning away in their droves and adopting other social networks instead, while the worst people of all, their parents, continue to use the service. ……. Where once parents worried about their children joining Facebook, the children now say it is their family that insists they stay there to post about their lives. Parents have worked out how to use the site and see it as a way for the family to remain connected. In response, the young are moving on to cooler things.

Teens, per the research, are flocking to Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Facebook owned, Instagram.

Miller acknowledges that none of these apps offer near the functionality of Facebook.

Most of the school children in our survey recognised that in many ways, Facebook is technically better than Twitter or Instagram. It is more integrated, better for photo albums, organising parties and more effective for observing people’s relationships.

Word of the study rolled across the Atlantic today with various bloggers and mainstream media reporting Facebook’s impending death, not just among teens, but overall (not sure the study found this).

I’m wondering what world they’re living in. Do they begrudge Facebook’s success? Do they use Facebook in a meaningful way? Are they looking at reality?

What I see is a company with a market cap of $135 Billion founded by an arguable genius who dropped out of college less than a decade ago to start a company that now has 1.2 Billion users, is operating in 70 languages, and is attracting the brightest engineers in the world to work there.

It wasn’t until, maybe, 5 years ago that those of us who didn’t have an .edu/college email address could even use Facebook. Now that us old folks are using Facebook in ever increasing rates, something the company desired, it’s going to die?

I use Facebook, and enjoy the heck out of it. Nothing comes close to enabling me to nurture and grow relationships. Let alone to connect with friends and relatives I had lost touch with in a meaningful way.

I appreciate people (many lawyers) letting me into their lives via Facebook in a way that was never before possible. I enjoy that experience personally and find it extremely worthwhile in business where relationships are paramount.

Peter Lynch, who years ago started the wildly successful Magellan mutual fund, advised investing in those things that you use and that you see other people enjoying. Many investments he made were based on observations he made of his family and others at the mall.

I see my family (5 of 7) , relatives, friends, business associates, and business leaders using Facebook in droves. I see them enjoying the experience and using it more and more. They use it for nurturing relationships, networking, and sharing.

Relationship nurturing, networking, reputation building, and news distribution are things adults value more than teens. When the teens shunning Facebook become adults they’ll use Facebook.

I see Facebook as only growing in use — and value. I question the motive of those talking of its demise.

Journalism and publishing is changing because of Facebook. 45% of people get some portion of their news via Facebook. News reporting, who sees their world and distribution systems turning upside down, would like nothing better than to see the decline of Facebook. So pile on whenever the opportunity — or study — arises.

Others overly suspicious of Internet privacy invasion also want Facebook to fail. Professor Miller writes, “as Facebook became a behemoth, it has started to be seen by some as an evil data corporation that represented global neo-liberal capitalism.”

If you are not using Facebook, give it a try for a while (it’s an acquired taste). I think you’ll find it enjoyable, personally and professionally rewarding, and not headed to its deathbed.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jay Cameron.

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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