This post was originally published on my Medium blog over a year ago, so figures are outdated.
Facebook has lost its cool factor.
The ubiquitous social network, once a trending startup that college students across the U.S. loved, is now a 3,000-person, public corporation with a multibillion dollar valuation. Ironically, this is precisely what has led to its decline.
It’s no wonder that Facebook spent a jaw-dropping $1 billion on acquiring its much smaller competitor, Instagram, a photo-sharing application. The level of engagement and rise in popularity of Instagram has taken the world by storm. Facebook recognized this, and through an apt, albeit exorbitant, purchase of the much-loved mobile app, Zuckerberg managed to capitalize on Instagram’s promise.
Our generation grew up with Facebook, and it remains ingrained in our daily lives. But slowly and steadily, it is losing its appeal. A 2012 poll found that 28 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Facebook. With the rise of parents and grandparents joining Facebook, youth and young adults are beginning to flee to other, more hip networks.
Facebook’s original goal was to be the hottest place for youth to socialize. Today, Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” a clear indication that the company intends to appeal to all demographics, not just the college student. Coupled with a widespread lack of trust in privacy policies, the decline of the coolness factor has led to youth’s inevitable migration away from Facebook. The sheer simplicity and vintage hipster effect of other platforms like Instagram and Tumblr entices newcomers tired of cluttered newsfeeds. Facebook is no longer that exclusive and addictive place to socialize and mingle — it’s merely a giant piece of software that people have simply lost interest in.
It’s time to take a look at the new networks. In this socially entrepreneurial age rife with new platforms to socialize, it’s inane to cling to Facebook solely because it dominated the social network scene in the past. Explore new apps. Try new features. Experience the social platforms of today — and tomorrow.