Friday, May 29, 2009
Baby Boomers Flee Facebook
The most popular social networking site, Facebook, recently passed the 200 million mark. However, over 650,000 baby boomers, those in the 55-to-65 year-old age group, have quit Facebook in the last couple of months, according to news reports coming out this week. While their parents are fleeing the site, though, 18-to-25-year-olds are more than making up for the unexplained flight of the older folks. In the same period, over 2 million of the 18-to-25-year-olds have signed up, and they're spending more time on Facebook. There is speculation that as young people, faced with the current economic downturn, find themselves out of school and unemployed, they are trying to find ways to waste time and distract themselves. Meanwhile, their parents are finding other, more productive ways to live their lives. One reason might be that the over-55 crowd hasn't figured out how to use all the nifty new updates that have recently been added to the site. Young people are more adaptable when it comes to maneuvering around difficult Internet applications. Also, in light of the economic crisis, baby boomers are laying off the extra-curricular Internet use during office hours, just hoping to keep their jobs. It seems that the news of massive layoffs has made the workforce more productive. And as older people put retirement on hold, it's the younger people who have time on their hands. The time-consuming social-networking site lures people in with chain-letter tactics such as the "25 things about me" letter that went around last month. And Facebook remains the gamer's destination of choice, with distractions such as "Texas HoldEm" and "Who Has the Biggest Brain." Games like "Mafia Wars," which started out on Internet sites such as MySpace, have gained massive popularity on Facebook, especially with younger users, who are jumping ship from MySpace to Facebook - and it's not just recent college grads with no job and time on their hands. MySpace has catered to teenagers, and adults never caught on. As teenagers grow up, they are turning to Facebook in record numbers. Their parents, though, are putting more energy into productive things like keeping their jobs, baby-sitting the grand kids, renting movies, visiting friends, and taking walks. And they're actually talking to people in person and using the land-line telephone (remember, they grew up without cell phones). Maybe they're on to something.