Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is Facebook Irrelevant?

Could it happen this fast? Is Facebook dead? Certainly there have been reports of the end of the youth movement there. And early in 2009 Time officially claimed the "old fogies" have ruined Facebook. It's not the application or audience that is wearing on me, but rather the platform. It's cumbersome and time-consuming -- and s-l-o-w. More importantly, for marketers, it's not as portable as Twitter for driving traffic to retail. And we haven't even touched on content yet...

It is not a place for thoughtful exchange. It's definitely a place to learn when your colleague has a headache and is going to bed early, that your high school acquaintance can't decide what to eat for dinner and your former colleague once liked to drink heavily with guys in Greek-lettered t-shirts. It's definitely a great place for ethnographic research of the mass consumer audience, or to learn about the daily lives of old fogies.

What's bothersome to me as a marketer, is the lag of industry understanding of the platform's irrelevance to the youth set. Most marketers still think it's a place to speak to young people. And, yet, statistics show anything but that: reports from July 2009 show college and high school user rates dropped by 20 percent, while the grey-haired audience increased by 513 percent. Yes, 513 percent. Great news for AARP, bad news for MTV.

Facebook is losing relevance certainly for millenials, but also for people who want to converse. It's become a warehouse of memories. Which is wonderful -- and needed--especially for those folks losing their memory. And it can exist beautifully like this for...ever. My argument is that it is no longer a place to market to youth. And it is no longer a place to have meaningful conversations. For that, go to Twitter. Seriously. Here's my handle:@gretchenramsey.


WILLIAM said...

What Twitter offers that Facebook does not is the Anonymous Element.

I think that is why more thoughtful conversation happen on twitter. They are more honest conversations. I think people know this in the back of their head and trust what is said there because the Anonymitititiityy.

Gretchen said...

Very insightful. Yes, although I'd argue it's not anonymity, but the removal of walls -- access. Access to the thinkers you want to converse with -- your peers in life.

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