UK teenagers are fleeing Facebook in droves: a study by a EU-based research group has revealed.
The report, released in December, along with other indicators, suggests that Facebook may well lack staying power.
Dan Miller, part of the EU’s Global Social Media Impact Study, wrote the report. Miller, professor of media culture at University College London, reveals that teenagers aged 16 -18 in the UK are rejecting the overly mainstream social media platform. Unsurprisingly, teens are reluctant to participate in sharing their lives in a digital environment that many see as having been taken over by parents and teachers.
Miller explains: “What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request. You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion.”
Teens are turning to social media alternatives like Twitter (for wider social networks) and Snapchat and WhatsApp (for tighter social circles). Facebook has undergone a major identity shift; users now access Facebook to communicate with older family members rather than to connect with friends.
Miller adds: “The desire for the new also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in present social media. It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.” Uncool! As teens were the force that drove Facebook making it a multi-billion dollar colossus, this could be the death knell.
Corroborating the study, a survey released in the autumn showed that Twitter had surpassed Facebook in teenage users. Furthermore, though downplayed by Facebook, Q3 data reflected a decline in daily use among this key demographic. According to Miller, however, “Facebook is not just on the slide – it is basically dead and buried.” Nevertheless, Facebook’s news feed is not likely to disappear soon as a major social article-sharing medium.
Researchers in the ongoing Global Social Media Impact Study are interviewing people about their social media use and conducting ethnographic studies over 15 months in eight countries. The study is in its early stages. Miller, spearheading the project, is considered as a pioneer in digital anthropology. The findings will be worthy of credence.