Youth Bored With Current Social Networks

April 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm 2 comments

danah boyd posted an insightful tweet earlier this week that is spot-on with the feedback we’ve received in our case studies and through our Youth Advisory Board:


She’s absolutely correct.  Kids aren’t pursuing Facebook and other same-box-new-wrapping social networks with the same zest they did several years ago.  Anastasia Goodstein at Ypulse dug a bit deeper into the dwindling flame of passion between kids and social networks saying, 

“A bunch of folks (including me) began to comment and speculate about where the love has gone as well as where teens might go (short answer: they haven’t gone to any one new site or space just yet). I feel like we’ve been talking about youth social networking fatigue on and off for awhile, and really, given that they were the early adopters of these sites, it makes sense.”

I concur with Anastasia’s elaborations, and I have seen the same phenomenon among my peer group of twenty-somethings.  Specific to Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook’s founder), was just a year behind me in college when he first opened Facebook up to college campuses outside of Harvard.  My college classmates and I began our Facebook love affairs five years ago and the relationship just isn’t as steamy as it once was.  I think for the twenty-something and younger crowd, there’s been a shift of perspective when it comes to Facebook.  When Facebook first hit the scene, it was an incredibly enticing way to be a voyeur into the lives of our friends, friends of friends and the cute guy two rows in front of me in biology.  As the service as developed and become more widely used, instead of being a novelty, it has become a basic tool that is useful, but not the thrill it once was (in the last month I personally know five friends who “quit” Facebook because they didn’t find it particularly useful and the novelty had dried up).  

There’s a logical comparison to be made with email.  When people first started using email it was really cool.  I remember getting my first account in the seventh grade through AOL and getting such a kick out of sending one line emails to my friends asking tantalizing questions like, “Did you watch Friends last night?” and then eagerly awaiting a response.  Now, email is a standard form of communication, and I don’t know anyone who looks at their inbox and squeals in delight.  For Facebook’s early adopters, Facebook is the “new email,” meaning that it’s becoming a standard, efficient communication tool, but it is no longer exciting (I do not think Facebook will ever replace standard email).  While Facebook is always open in my browser, I’d estimate I easily spend half the amount of time interacting with the site that I did two years ago.  

What kids are waiting for is the next-generation of social networking to emerge where they can engage with fresh content and new-opportunities in a social context.  PlumbBrain is the next generation of social networking that kids are asking for!

(Image adapted from danah boyd’s twitter)

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Entry filed under: Communication, Great Blogs, Kids, Millennials, OneSeventeen Media, Online Tools, PlumbBrain, Relationships, Social Networks, Youth. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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