EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 9, 2013

Armerding column: The changing face of Facebook has more wrinkles

Sometimes I’m so cutting-edge I scare myself. So ahead of the curve. So next year.

I’ve read recently in major national magazines and metropolitan newspapers that young people are getting bored with Facebook – almost as bored as they are with email. And I think to myself that maybe there is something to this AARP fantasy that “Sixty is the new thirty.”

Because I’ve been bored (and frequently creeped out) with Facebook pretty much since it started waaaay back in 2004, when I was only 26 in AARP years. At this point, I’m younger than my thirtysomething kids.

I read in these stories that even if young people like me forsake Facebook, the company faces a bright future, at least for a while, because people aged 50 and older are signing up – because “older” people tend to be slower to embrace hot new trends.

And I can feel my sunken cheeks flush with youthful pride, because when people turning 50 were being born, I was getting ready to go to high school. But today, I’m younger than they are.

This apparent collapse of infatuation with Facebook has now been documented by prestigious academic institutions like Cornell, which reported that a third of users it polled have deactivated their accounts before and one in 10 never comes back.

It has been studied by prestigious institutions like the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, which recently reported that 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus from the site for reasons that range from “too much gossip and drama” to “boredom.” Some respondents said there just isn’t enough time in their day for Facebook.

Or, as Business Week reported, young people are disenchanted “because so many parents and grannies seem, creepily, to be all over Facebook these days.”

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