The so-called “Facebook generation” doesn’t seem to feel a lot of loyalty to the site.Ahead of Facebook’s long-awaited IPO, I was wondering if Facebook could survive for decades. So I asked six of my daughter’s friends to tell me if they thought they would use Facebook forever. They are juniors in high school, in a normal small town in Colorado — far from Silicon Valley.
All of them use Facebook daily.
Nearly all of them said no, they don’t think they’ll be on it forever.
“Facebook will be gone in 10 years,” one boy told me, even though he uses it all the time now. “Whenever I’m on the computer, Facebook is open in a window somewhere. I use Skype a lot, as well as Steam. Facebook often co-ordinates our use of these, however.”
Another said: “Look at Myspace. Facebook took hold of the Internet and left Myspace in the dust. Anyone that uses Myspace now is pretty much ridiculed. I have a feeling that some brand new social-connection website will rise, and bam — Facebook’s gone.”
One girl thinks that Facebook won’t be in her life much beyond high school. “I do not think that Facebook will be around forever, and I cannot really imagine using Facebook for college but I’ll use a similar type of website. And after that…. not really.”
For Facebook to survive, people need to use it for more than photos, updates, and games. The good news is that they are starting to. These kids have a private group for homework help. Several told me that they use Facebook to organise events with people.
Only one saw Facebook being around forever. “I think Facebook wont disappear but will simply change into something new that will better fit the needs of us and other people at that time,” she said.
Facebook has to continue to prove — even to its daily users — that they really need it. That’s a tough problem to solve.