The eulogy for Facebook has been written. Its death has been predicted for months now. However, as a member of the Millennial Generation who uses Facebook on a daily basis, I think we may be premature in our prediction of Facebook’s doom. To be sure I wasn’t the only Millennial still avidly using Facebook, I surveyed 50 of my college peers, ranging from ages 18 to 24.
My findings prove that this social media giant, at this point, is still far from the digital graveyard where MySpace and its ilk rest in peace. You may be surprised to hear that Facebook outranked all of its competitors as the most frequently used platform by participants.
This study shows that of the participants, 92% used Facebook. Furthermore, 82% of participants ranked it as the social media network that they used most on a daily basis, beating out Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and several lesser popular platforms.
While Facebook clearly had a huge lead, the next highest was Instagram, ranked as the number one network by only 4% of the participants. Twitter and LinkedIn were both the top social media for only 2% of the participants.
Participants also responded that their usage of Facebook was not entirely for entertainment purposes and sharing the newest memes. Respondents cited this network as the place they learned about current events and found out about sales going on at their favorite stores. Even one of my college courses is using Facebook as a way of sharing information and doing collaborate group work because of its accessibility and communicative functions.
Part of the survey included an open-ended question where the participant was asked to explain what they foresaw as the future of social media. Many of the responses centered on opinions of Facebook, even though this platform was not mentioned specifically in the question, showing the mental link in my generation between social media and Facebook. One participant’s thoughts echoed current opinion that Facebook might begin losing its Millennial users because of the adult invasion: “I think that there will be an increasing presence of older adults (i.e. parents and grandparents) joining Facebook,” said this participant, who suggested Instagram, which 74% of participants used, might edge Facebook out because of the parents and parental figures who have created Facebook pages and are sending friend requests to their children.
Comments of this kind were rare in the survey results, as many users espoused the belief that Facebook was here to stay. One response read “Everyone keeps writing articles about how Facebook is becoming less cool, but as someone who has had an account for all of high school and college, I can’t imagine ever living without it.” Participants also recognized the need for social media to keep the public engaged in order to maintain and even increase their user base: “I think if Facebook can continue to keep things fresh, it will stay popular, as will Twitter.”
In an interesting twist, it might be that the Millennials, having grown up with Facebook, are not the problem – the coming generation might actually be the ones to not ‘Like’ Facebook. One participant commented: “[Social media will] continue to be popular, but from my experience with my younger siblings, my generation uses Facebook more, while the younger generation is using Twitter.” As for the Millennials, 60% used Twitter with varying levels of activeness, but this number could be on the rise if these predictions hold true.
Perhaps the end of Facebook is in sight, but, considering the results of this study, I would give it at least another ten to fifteen years before signing the death certificate.