Could it possibly be? Is Facebook now officially uncool? Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later––teens suddenly realizing that Mom and Aunt Mindy were spending way too much time posting picts of their Starbucks coffee and poodles wearing hats on Facebook. Heck, word is, even the Wicklevoss twins are losing interest in this ground-breaking social media platform.
It all came to light last week when Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman announced that their social media network had seen a decrease in daily usage among younger teens. This goes against an earlier report that said usage among teens has been steadily on the increase.
Meanwhile, such social media platforms as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are on the upswing. Snapchat provides young teens the ultimate in deniability. This new photo-based social media allows voyeuristic teens to view and share snaps that disappear within 10 seconds. Sneaky!
But the biggest drawback to Facebook is, well, it’s getting long in the tooth.
“Facebook has just been around so long,” laments Rachel Lamourie, a Canadian teen who believes Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has outlived its freshness date.
Meanwhile, Twitter is trading on the stock exchange. Could teens cool to this social medium, as well? After all, Wall Street is the habitat of grey-flanneled grown ups. Not exactly coolsville.
So what could Zuckerberg do to reverse this trend? Here are some ideas:
1. Make Facebook Less Nice
Face it, middle school is for haters. It’s a place full of put downs, shunning and forming impenetrable cliques. By contrast, Facebook is so darn nice. You can “like” something. You “like” that somebody liked your “like.” But you can’t say something sucks without making a comment. There should be a “like” button for things we like and a “suck” button for things that suck. Teens would love this feature.
2. Make Facebook Truly Social
High school is about unfriending people for real. It’s the way we advance our social status. You only have to watch a season of Glee to know this. However, with Facebook, rejection is so low key that it is practically nonexistent. Someone simply ignores a friend request and maybe the pariah gets the message––they are unloved and unwanted. Why not make Facebook more demonstrative? If someone below our exalted social station tries to friend us, Facebook should give us the opportunity to do what we would do on campus: insult them to their face. How about a feature that launches a text message to this unworthy person to totally put them in their place? Perhaps, boxes could be checked ranging from In your dreams! to Not if you were the last man on earth. Total clarity. Teens are so into that!
3. Make Facebook More Dangerous
Think about the sort of things teens like and danger is right up there at the top of the list. Under aged drinking, unprotected sex and exploring if Dad’s car can really go up to 150 miles an hour like the speedometer implies. Just watch any 1980s John Hughes movie. So how can Facebook be seen as a more risky behavior? Perhaps, Facebook could install a Russian Roulette kind of functionality. Say a teen posts to their friend a rude comment about a fellow classmate or teacher. What if that comment could be randomly intercepted by the offended party through a feature called Oh no, you didn’t! Just think how quickly such a feature would reveal to the teenager that mindless, unfiltered behavior actually had consequences! Why these bored little darlings might actually learn about things like responsibility and prudence. That would be so….what’s the word they use? Ah, yes…amazing!!
Of course, maybe these ideas are a bit too radical for Mark Zuckerberg and his social media mavens. Maybe things¬––even wonderful things like Facebook––simply are meant to wax and wane. Or maybe Facebook just needs to discover the shocking truth that every teen eventually figures out: getting older, growing up, dealing with change––this stuff is hard!