Facebook was once the hip and trendy social media site for teens and college age students, but just like with everything trendy there comes a time when it’s on its way out. According to a new report done by the Pew Research Center at Harvard University quantitatively social media use among the teenage community is higher than ever. However, conversely on a qualitative side teens are no longer as happy with the Facebook community as they used to be, and frankly I’m not either. “Focus group discussions with teens show that they have waning enthusiasm for Facebook disliking the increasing adult presence, people sharing excessively, and stressful drama but they keep using it because participation is an important part of overall teenage socializing.”

Here in lies the issue with the ever expanding presence of Facebook and its ease of availability and use among all generations. Gone is the element of freedom and personal privacy. The report indicates that today nearly 70% of teens are friends on Facebook with their parents and 30% are friends with teachers or coaches.  Of course you can limit their settings but then comes the questions from your mom or dad after doing so. With parents, teachers and extended family members all using Facebook there is almost no way around the social expectations. Teens used to flock to Facebook in search of privacy. It was in some ways your own little world with your friends you could still enjoy even while at home.  One 14 year old girl even goes so far as to say, “My dad said if you’re going to have a Facebook, I want you to be friends with me so I can see what you’re doing.” And he admits to it, he stalks me on Facebook.”

In my own experience Facebook for me has become somewhat mundane and obsolete, filled with friends posting pictures of food or people I barely know spamming me with advertising and events I could care less about. On its onset I initially signed up for Facebook to share pictures of my friends having a good times, set up private events and groups, and to connect with people I had just met. Grant it you can still use Facebook for all these things but the newness of it just isn’t there. Somehow it’s become somewhat diluted. For the teens growing up today it has become somewhat of a necessity, but with the rise of social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest which have revolutionized key elements of Facebook it is only a matter of time before Facebook becomes a site of the past. After all how many teens today remember Myspace? Is it possible for Facebook to remedy the potential situation without overstepping too many boundaries? Maybe the answer is simple, but I believe Facebook needs to acknowledge the fact that no longer are they the same trendy site they used to be. I believe that in the near future in order for Facebook to stay relevant they need to be more proactive instead of just waiting for the next big social media site to blossom and reacting.
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Michael Croasdale

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