Teens leaving Facebook: Who cares?

Advertisers go where the audience is, and an outrageously large number of people across the globe log on to the social media site every day.

By TheStreet Staff Aug 14, 2013 1:05PM

FacebookBy Rocco Pendola, TheStreet


As my daughter approaches 13 years of age, I hope she maintains the ability to express herself as well as Ruby Karp, the newly minted teenager who recently wrote an op-ed for Mashable headlined "I'm 13 and none of my friends use Facebook." 

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Karp articulates much of what we have heard before -- how teens have moved on to other social networks and are no longer obsessed with Facebook (FB) -- and has introduced the somewhat new notion that it's become too complicated.


Karp closes with the contention that "Facebook needs teens, because we'll be the people keeping it going very soon. And teens can see that, which freaks them out."


I don't understand why the demise of Facebook would freak teens out, but the notion that "we'll be the people keeping it going very soon" gets overplayed.


If the 12-to-17-year-old demographic abandons Facebook it doesn't necessarily mean the 18-to-34 and 25-to-54-year-old demos come crashing down. And the notion that teens set trends for older people doesn't follow as logically as many people assume.

So a 13-, 15- or 17-year-old turns 18, 20 or 22 in five years and they're not Facebook users. That doesn't demolish the constitution of the most important demo for advertisers -- users aged 25 to 54.

A level of ubiquity 

According to the latest numbers from Facebook, more than 128 million users log into the site daily on the Web. About 101 million access it via mobile devices. Right now -- and for the foreseeable future -- the people who matter (18 to 54 year olds) are, to considerable extents, "obsessed" with Facebook. That's not changing anytime soon.


Take a look around you ... Facebook is a major part of the lives of an outrageous number of adults throughout the world. And, even if there's a decrease among teen users, they have not gone away completely.


I just posted a picture of Wall Street and the NYSE on Facebook and am about to share it with my Facebook friends (and yes, despite the security risks, I accept all Facebook friend requests). I keep in touch with of people I never would he reconnected or discovered in the first place. People bail me out of jams from time to time on Candy Crush.


Simply put, Facebook has achieved a level of ubiquity that doesn't come apart overnight. It's not MySpace.


First, MySpace never achieved anywhere near the global market saturation Facebook has. It scaled out at just over 100 million users. That's collateral damage for Mark Zuckerberg. Second, there's was more Antony Weiner-type stuff happening on MySpace than the mundane day-to-day, purely platonic human contact that occurs every second, 24/7, on Facebook.

Mundane matters 

And that's what matters -- the mundane. Because that relationship, like the one radio had with multiple generations and television continues to have, matters. That's what sticks. The fleeting tastes of fickle teens means very little. In fact, it's comical to hear Karp complain about Facebook ads, yet I'm sure she's been duped by marketing ploys such as Nickelodeon "National Day of Play."


If there is a trend here, it absolutely will not derail Facebook's ability to generate billions in revenue, particularly with mobile and video advertisers, over the next several years.


Facebook is nimble. As necessary, it will evolve. Its rapid shift from the desktop to mobile proves this. But, more importantly, advertisers are more nimble than we give them credit for. They go where either the largest audience is and/or their targeted audience is. Neither of those will be absent from Facebook anytime soon, no matter the 12-to-17-year old crowd does.


More from TheStreet.com

Aug 14, 2013 2:01PM

I don't care about Facebook as I have NO NEED for it.

No hackers, no stalkers in my life.....


Just hop on my motorcycle and ride.

Aug 14, 2013 2:09PM

 from the story here:  " the people who matter (18 to 54 year olds) are, to considerable extents, "obsessed" with Facebook. That's not changing anytime soon.  Take a look around you ... Facebook is a major part of the lives of an outrageous number of adults throughout the world."


Oh please.  Anyone who is obsessed with Facebook and makes it a MAJOR part of their lives, no matter what age, is seriously a mental case.  Get a life people !!!!

No self respecting adult would troll around on facebook, seems like the kids are a little smarter than the adults.
Aug 14, 2013 2:08PM

Hate it!  I don't have anything worth posting, and can't stand reading other people's crap!

.....Just like this!

Aug 14, 2013 2:40PM
Aug 14, 2013 2:28PM
Aug 14, 2013 3:28PM
Facebook is a Huge waste of time, for adults, and teenagers alike! Its for those who think that the other people care about whats going on in their pathetic lives. I agree Facebook is a social disease...very well put!
Aug 14, 2013 2:28PM
There are several factors and numbers that show, not only teens, but the 25-35 is using facebook less and less. The lower end of that age demographic is realizing how much time facebook takes up at work and the level of productivity that is generates (or doesn't). Some ppl are actually maturing and taking more responsibility in the workforce. Good for them.
Aug 14, 2013 3:09PM
Don't care about Facebook anymore.  It is now more for mommy and daddy and grandma.  Very irritating.  Also, people can stalk your Facebook account and so can employers.  Not worth it anymore.
Aug 14, 2013 3:43PM
Facebook rates right up there with reality tv shows...
Aug 14, 2013 3:21PM
why use facebook so anybody can know just about anything they want about you      we are mad that the goverment can spy on us   but know one thinks about where all this information comes from      shut it down now and do not give anyone a chance to know all they want about you or your family   BYE  BYE facebook and all of your bs that you say is good    BYE BYE sukerman you have made a monster and the goverment loves it   just say NO   and that is all i have to say about this
Aug 14, 2013 2:09PM
It sounds like Rocco has some shares of FB that he wants to dump and wants a bump in the market.
Aug 14, 2013 2:10PM
Teens ALL think the entire universe revolves around them. I don't really understand this generation at all! My two youngest kids (TEENS!) are this way, too. They don't seem to realize that there are non-teens who also have not only opinions, but the financial means to contribute to society. Teens are very fickle. It will be those who can legally buy alcohol who have the real impact on Facebook.
Aug 14, 2013 2:14PM
"Facebook needs teens, because we'll be the people keeping it going very soon. And teens can see that, which freaks them out.


I don't understand why the demise of Facebook would freak teens out."

Rocco, I'm pretty sure the teen is saying that it freaks Facebook out.  Because teens see that Facebook "needs" them.

Regardless, when Facebook first started getting popular you couldn't even sign up unless you were at least 16.  They need to move it back to that.

And Facebook is more popular than Myspace was because it constantly links everything you post and like to everybody you know.  Which is a COMPLETELY annoying feature.
Aug 14, 2013 5:32PM
As long as people have the need to brag about their lives (like people care), Facebook will be just fine.. Hey look at my billion pics of my kids and how awesome they are.  Hey I just bought a house, let me take a million pics from them digging the hole to putting on the roof so you can see how amazing I am.  I love the fact that people complain about their privacy and how the government is imposing with airport scanners and phone taps and cameras ect.  Yet you have no issues putting the most private intimate parts of your life on the web..  It makes no sense.  I'd never put wedding pics or pics of my kids all over for everyone to see.  That's just crazy.  But then what do I know about diamonds?
Aug 14, 2013 8:56PM
What is Facebook? I have no extra spare time so I guess I don't have the time to find out. Can't possibly be more fun that my hot Mustang, vinyl records, firearms and my trophy wife.
Aug 14, 2013 4:48PM
This article seems pro Facebook. I can't close my account with Facebook so it appears that I'm an avid user to those who don't understand that Facebook won't allow my account to be closed. Most of the people whom I use to interact with have all moved on to some other means somewhere. In order to close my account I would need everyone whoever posted anything to my account to remove it, then maybe, just maybe, I'll be a candidate for removal from Facebook. I would never tell anyone to use Facebook.  Advertisers are dupe into believing the numbers of active members when most are gone  but can't close their account.  
Aug 14, 2013 4:42PM
To be honest, I do not nor would I ever use FB.  I do have a smart phone that I use the heck out of.  There's just something about hearing my friends and family's voice that makes a conversation, well..."worthy".  I love hearing my daughters laugh, like hearing the excitement in my friends voices when they talk about the 20 pound salmon they caught.  Those things just can't be replaced with "LOL" or "LMFAO".  And, I save a ton of time calling and talking or on less formal occasions, texting.  I don't think I'll ever feel the need to log on, click, click, click, just to find out how my daughters day went.
Aug 14, 2013 5:00PM
Kids have enough drama in their lives without having to worry about what other kids are saying about them on facebook. Half the time a kid will hijack another kids facebook and pretend to be someone else creating more drama. Facebook needs to die like the dinosaurs or only strict responsibly people need to use it. Facebook gets people fired, arrested, and even has people committing suicide, nah this thing turned out to be something useless that people consume their time with and end up being irresponsible.
Aug 14, 2013 4:59PM
and we are all posting on what? Is this any better then FB?
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