Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Young Users Fleeing "Dead and Buried" Facebook

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There's been empirical evidence that teens have been fleeing Facebook for some time, but a new study by London's University College now confirms that teens "feel embarrassed even to be associated with it." In fact, to many older teens, Facebook is "not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried," according to the report.

The Global Social Media Impact Study observed the social networking of 16 to 18 year olds in 8 countries over the course of 15 months. The study found that for that age group, Facebook activity was being replaced by WhatsApp and Snapchat. Of course, Facebook recently purchased WhatsApp for a reported $19 billion in cash and stock, and one has to wonder if this study played a part.

The interesting thing is that teens still maintain Facebook accounts at the insistence of their families in order for them to stay in touch with older relatives, the study pointed out. This is somewhat ironic in that it wasn't that long ago when parents were increasingly concerned about their kids spending time on the network.

Another interesting point was that most teens acknowledged that Facebook is actually better than anything else at things like scheduling parties and observing people's relationships, but opted for the other networks anyway. This proves that slicker doesn't always equal better.

If Facebook is to integrate WhatsApp into its network, it can bring that age group back into the fold, guaranteeing a sustained user base at least for the short term. Say what you want about the service, in this case it seems to have made a strategic move at just the right time.

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