For any technological product to succeed, it is very important for early adopters to come out and use the product. And globally, early adopters are geeks, teenagers and technology enthusiasts who are always looking forward to try out new technology and fresh ideas.
Among this selective group of users, teenagers constitute nearly 20% of share. And if this highly sought after group decides to ditch a product, then it surely demands attention.
When last month Facebook announced its 3rd Quarter results, it beat market expectations with total revenues of $2.02 billion, up 60% compared to last year. Total users of the social networking platform had increased to 1.19 billion and daily users had increased 25% to 728 million.
However, two insights from the quarterly report caught the eyes of social media experts and investors which have started troubling them:
- 49% of revenues are being generated from Advertisements shown on Mobile phones
- Teenagers are deserting Facebook like never before
Even Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged this fact, though not officially admitting it:
“One specific demographic I want to address is U.S. teens. There’s been a lot of speculation and reporting that fewer teens are using Facebook.”
What are the reasons they are leaving Facebook?
Biggest Issue: Privacy
When you mom and dad and uncle and aunties all are on Facebook, then it becomes real tough to protect your privacy. And the issue becomes more prominent, when it to comes to the ‘secretive’ activities of teenagers. In a way, for a teenager, Facebook is same as Linkedin is for an adult: You know that ‘they’ are watching you. Due to less privacy features in Facebook, teenagers have decided that this social network isn’t for them.
Cyberbullying is an issue which is impacting hundreds of teenagers and children. It has been researched that almost 20% of all students are bullied online, every year. And there have been some ugly instances of bullying on the social network, which has led to suicide as well. Obviously, no teenager would want to participate in such cases. They want a world where only friends are allowed. Although Facebook has taken considerable steps to stop this, teenagers are opting out.
Overwhelming Features on Facebook
Another reason which can be attributed to declining usage by teenagers is the overwhelming features on Facebook mobile app. There is news feed, then messages, events, gaming apps, groups, fan pages and so on. A typical teenager may want a simpler yet easy interface to hang around. Maybe adults love all these features in a single window, but for a teenager, these features may repel him.
Where Are Teenagers Going Now?
The real fun for teenagers is happening right on their mobiles, and the new destination for being social is mobile chat apps. Leading this crusade are the leading chat platforms like WhatsApp; Snapchat; Line; WeChat and KaKaoTalk which solves all their problems.
These immensely popular and fast growing chat applications are like your own private social network: Only your friends are allowed to enter, hence no invasion to their privacy; as only friends are being added in their groups, cyberbullying is non-existent and the features are so minimalist and simple that teenagers simply love them.
In August, a Mashable post on this issue created ripples across the technological world, when a 13 year old wrote a scintillating post “I’m 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook”. Critics dismissed this, stating that a 13 year old’s views cannot affect a company as large as Facebook. But the statistics is reflecting some other story. And the trend is not localized to US; its even being witnessed in India.
Some amazing stats and figures related to usage of these chat applications:
WhatsApp is the grand daddy of all chat applications, ever created: 350 million plus active users every month and 14 billion messages a day; Twitter has only about 270 million users. Simply incredible growth.
– SnapChat platform witnesses 350 million snaps (pictures/videos) being shared daily by its 150 million strong user base. This figure of 350 million snaps per day is same as that of Facebook users uploading pictures daily. But Facebook has over 1 billion users. You can assume the growth curve for next few months!
– Line, the popular chat application from Japan has already crossed 10 million registered users from India, and has delivered the fastest ever growth in the country.
Its obvious now that the early adaptors and the geek have moved out of the Facebook ecosystem, and passed on their blessings to these astonishing mobile apps. What is your take in this whole transformation of social media usage?
Are you still using Facebook?