Facebook is like Radio 2 to the under-30s – it means nothing to them which is why they don’t post on it
PUBLISHED: 21:49 29 September 2019 | UPDATED: 22:06 29 September 2019
Have you noticed that under-30s in particular don’t post on Facebook anymore? Nick Richards has and says the site is now favoured by a different generation
Are you still actively using Facebook? Chances are you're certainly over 30 and probably well past 40. The social media choice for so many of us a decade ago seems more than ever to be struggling for 'likes' among teens and twentysomethings.
Facebook's demographic has changed markedly and shifted along the years, hijacked by a different generation who belatedly latched on to it and haven't let go. Have you noticed your children or grandchildren simply aren't using it anymore?
They may still have profiles but do they actually post anything on it? I very much doubt it.
Facebook has become like Radio 2, buying CDs and physically collecting your own takeaway food - activities that are no longer the preserve of the under-30s.
I'm not trying to present myself as a trendy young thing or align myself to another generation but at the age of 44 I hardly ever look at it either.
Twelve years ago it was all so different.
I joined in the summer of 2007, after brief dalliances with other social media sites like Myspace and Friends Reunited. I was about to go on a round-the-world trip for a few months and thought it would be a fun way to connect with people back home and share photos. At that time most people I knew still weren't on it, so I used to post pictures in albums and then email a link to the photos by email.
Facebook gave even those with the most mundane lives the chance to throw a cloak of glamour around their activities with the 'check in' facility.
It was great.
'Nick is at Wembley watching the Champions League final' and 'Nick is at Hooters in Las Vegas' gave me a bit of online kudos. 'Nick is eating a minted lamb burger at Wetherspoons' maybe missed the point somewhat.
Some of the daft and trivial status updates I thrust upon the world are on this page. I seemed to like to tell the world I was drinking beer.
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But fast forward to 2019 and my timeline is sparse to say the least. My closest friends don't post on it anymore. I don't really know what they're up to unless I meet up with them. Where once they used to make Facebook albums of weekends away in Brighton or take selfies at gigs, now there is nothing.
They have dormant profiles last updated when David Cameron was at Number 10 and nobody had heard of Brexit. Instead my timeline is clogged up with information from people I vaguely know in real life and some of whom I have never actually spoken to.
It reminded me of a social media course I went on as a then freelance journalist in 2010 at the Daily Mail HQ in London. "Hands up who still uses Facebook?" some twentysomthing wannabe media mogul wearing an untucked collarless shirt asked. A few hands were tentatively raised. "It's great for sharing photos with your granny," he said dismissively. We all belly-laughed thinking we'd better instantly block anybody over 50.
"If you want to really connect with people, you'll use Twitter."
He'd clearly seen the future - and that was nearly a decade ago.
Maybe like me you're tired of Facebook too, but have the under-30s really lost all interest in it? In 2018 there were 9.2 million Facebook users in the UK aged under 24 compared to 15 million aged 45 and over.
But of those millions under 24, how many want to tell you anything about their lives through Facebook?
Last Friday night I checked my timeline to see what was going on. The three most recent posts were from my 60-year-old auntie drinking wine with her boyfriend in Spain, a pal in her late 40s 'checking in' at the theatre and a couple in their mid-40s watching Status Quo at Butlins.
I know plenty of people in their 20s and 30s but whatever they were up to certainly wasn't being shared on Facebook.
My brother has four children aged between 16 and 22. They all created profiles aged 14 as some kind of obligatory rite of passage, but you hardly hear a sniff from them on Mark Zuckerberg's site. They use private groups on Snapchat and occasionally publicly post on Instagram. Facebook is now simply not a forum for finding out whatever it is millennials are up to on a Friday night.
Indeed, during the past summer most of the time my Facebook timeline just consisted of pictures of middle-aged women drinking prosecco in hot tubs.
OK, so I don't use it much, but generally Facebook has become a playground for the people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond which is probably why their kids don't use it.
Think back to when you were 21 and the edited highlights of what you actually told your parents. I bet like me there's a lot of things you wouldn't want them to discover.
Maybe that's the main reason, then, that there has been such a shift in status among Facebook users.
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