New data this week about the Facebook being abandoned by the younger set:
Now, there could be an error with the way this was computed — I’m fighting a number of edtech fires right now and don’t have time to dig into the methodology. But it matches the anecdotal evidence we’re seeing.
One interpretation of this is now that parents are all on Facebook, it’s uncool. You can’t really say the stuff you need as a teen in front of parents.
And I think that’s true. But what’s more interesting to me is not the motive, but the opportunity. In other words, how has it become so easy for teens to move from the “platform” that is Facebook to the world of a multiude of single purpose apps? The answer: what’s enabling that is the notifications panel of the smartphone. And what’s happening is the OS’s are the only entities around with enough klout to insist on app integration, so web based-harnesses are becoming also-rans.
In other words, if I build the world’s newest videochat service or best net-enabled slow-cooker, maybe I build a Facebook app, maybe I don’t. Maybe I integrate with Google+, maybe I don’t. Maybe I open up my API to IFTTT, maybe I don’t. But what’s crucial to my survival is I integrate with the major app-based OS’s providing the sort of sharing and notifications hooks that promote use. And this ends up having a reinforcing effect — because the only place I can check ALL my stuff is my phone, that’s where I’m going to check it. The fact that Microsoft has also gone to app-based OS’s on the desktop and Xbox just seals the deal.
Call me crazy, but I think that has implications beyond the 13-24 year-old demographic. Facebook has always been a relatively decent photo and link sharing site, but its attractiveness as a *platform* was based on the idea that it would become the “lifestream” that lent coherence to all your other interactions.
Your OS does that now, so Facebook is just another service whose individual components can be replaced as necessary. Teens have realized that, I think — who’s next?
(Incidentally, there are both upsides and downsides to this. But I think ultimately it’s an unstoppable shift.)