Press-Republican

FYI...

August 26, 2013

Have teens really stopped using Facebook?

In baseball, trend-spotting tends to be based on statistical analysis. In fashion, it's driven by runway shows. And when it comes to social networks, the ascendant paradigm for forecasting the future seems to center on first-person anecdotes and unsupported hearsay from random teen-agers.

Earlier this year it was Josh Miller's unnamed 15-year-old sister who drove the media conversation around the alleged decline of Facebook and the rise of Snapchat, Instagram and Tumblr. This week it's a post on the social-media blog Mashable by a 13-year-old HelloGiggles correspondent named Ruby Karp. Her post, headlined "I'm 13 and None of My Friends Use Facebook," has garnered some 36,000 Facebook shares since it was published on Sunday. It has, predictably, launched a fresh armada of blog posts heralding the imminent fall of the great social network.

"Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook?" one asks. "Is Facebook hurtling toward irrelevance, or is it already there?" wonders MSN. Mashable's own Todd Wasserman was moved by Karp's post to speculate about whether Facebook is the next Yahoo. The Huffington Post this week is hosting a live video segment centered on the question, "Without Teens, Does Facebook Have a Future?"

That's an interesting hypothetical. But - call me old-fashioned - I'd prefer to draw data from a slightly wider sample than Ruby Karp and Josh Miller's sister before drawing firm conclusions about the death of Facebook among teens. To be clear, I'm not saying that posts like Miller's and Karp's are without merit. When analyzing the prospects of billion-dollar companies whose fortunes rely in significant part on their cachet among young people, it's great to hear from some actual teens now and then among all the middle-aged talking heads. But the sweeping generalizations some media outlets were quick to make on the basis of Karp's blog post left me wondering: Did they actually read it?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
FYI...
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 24, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 22, 2014

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 19, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millions of Android phones, tablets vulnerable to Heartbleed bug

    Millions of smartphones and tablets running Google's Android operating system have the Heartbleed software bug, in a sign of how broadly the flaw extends beyond the Web and into consumer devices.

    April 17, 2014

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 16, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 297px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011.svg.png Why Starbucks won't recycle your paper coffee cup

    When you drop that used white paper cup into the bin next to the door at a Starbucks, have you done your part to save the planet? Starbucks has long hoped that you would think so. After all, there's no better way to attract an affluent, eco-conscious clientele than to convince customers that your disposable product is "renewable."

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Videos: Editor Picks