Facebook, what with its irritatingly undeniable friend requests from embarrassing relatives and all those awful pictures of users' still placenta-streaked newborns, is losing touch with teenagers and, according to Adage's Dave Williams, if the social media giant doesn't adapt to the frivolities of the younger generation, it could face a MySpace-style mass exodus.
Williams, using anecdotal data he gathered from other peoples' teenage progeny and a gloomy AP report about the eventual demise of Facebook, writes that teens are starting to prefer the brevity and simplicity of Twitter to the web of tangential social entanglements that is Facebook. The thing teens like most about Twitter, he explains, is that it caters perfectly to their natural self-centeredness — whereas Facebook etiquette often demands that mealy-mouthed friend request from Aunt Jenny's calico cat, Arthur, King of the Kitons, be honored, there's no unspoken rule saying that people have to follow each other's Twitter feeds. "Teenaged users," Williams writes, "like this feature, and they're employing Twitter's simpler privacy controls as well, choosing to hide their tweets from public view and sending them only to a select group of friends."
Williams further explains that teen users are starting to treat Facebook the way professionals treat LinkedIn, i.e. something that's socially/professionally necessary, but eye-bleedingly boring. While Facebook emphasizes and facilitates sharing content, Twitter gives teens the ability to pithily sound-off on the moment-to-moment ennui that pervades their angsty lives. Moreover, with its streamlined privacy controls, Twitter appeals to teens as something akin to an intimate, inside-joke conversation circle filled with their best friends. Not so with Facebook, which Williams thinks will have to take some active measures in order to stay as relevant and ginormous as it is right now. Otherwise, it may find itself panhandling for nickels next to MySpace at the internet's bus stop for outbound social media platforms.