Why an economic recovery could spell doom for Facebook
Let me preface this post: a sample size of one doesn’t make for much of a scientific study. But let me tell you about the person who gave me a glimpse at Facebook’s potential fate.
I was following a very smart, funny woman on Twitter. And I wasn’t the only one: she’d amassed a following of more than 3,000 by simply tweeting about her daily life here in Seattle.
Then one day I ran into her in the real world and we had a chance to chat. Turns out she’s a 21-year-old UW student who will be hitting the job market next year. We talked about her success on Twitter, and then the conversation turned to Facebook.
“I’m probably going to quit Facebook as soon as I get a job,” she said.
Quit. Not change privacy settings. Not delete potentially embarrassing photos. Not unfriend certain people. Her timeline will end and she’ll be gone. Poof.
She has over 600 Facebook friends & has been active on the site throughout her teens and into her 20s. With her efforts on Twitter, she’s dancing on the edge of the social media elite. And Facebook will lose her soon.
The reason? Mixing coworkers, bosses, family and friends in one place could hurt her career at some point. And besides, she said, “My grandma’s on Facebook. That means it’s pretty much dead, right?”
But it’s not just her. She says she has “5 or 6 other friends” who have already quit Facebook because they found jobs beyond the part-time variety. Presumably these are people like her – smart, young, ambitious college grads who will soon have disposable income. That’s a demo a lot of advertisers like.
Twitter is my social drug of choice. I’m admittedly not a big Facebook guy so I don’t have a lot invested in my Facebook page. I always assumed the people who had invested a lot had built something that would be tough to abandon – photos, friends and hundreds (or thousands) of connections.
Apparently it’s easier to give up than I thought, at least for 20-somethings.
For now, the job outlook for recent college grads is still pretty grim (the unemployment rate for 16 – 25 year olds was double the national average back in March). So chances are good they’ll be posting party pics from Saturday night on their wall Sunday morning just like they always have. But when they trade in their nametag jobs for desk jobs, they might tear down that Facebook wall for good. And that could spell disaster for a company that already seems to be losing its edge.