14 January 2015

I was right about Facebook. I was wrong about Facebook.

Sometimes you’re wrong for the right reasons.  Sometimes you’re right for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes you’re a bit of both.

Years ago I trashed Facebook and social networking sites:

Baby Boomers Bolting From Facebook
… Baby Boomers are decamping that most famous of digital digs …

I was wrong:

Pew: Facebook User Growth Slowed As Others Gained, But Still Has Most Engaged Users
by Sarah Perez
image… the social network remains the most popular, but its membership levels here have seen little change from where they were in 2013. One exception to this is with the “older” adults demographic.

For the first time, more than half (56%) of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook. Yes: grandma and grandpa are now on Facebook.

We’ll forgive Ms. Perez for her ageist throwaway.  More:

In general, teens find Facebook “weird and annoying,” he said. Having mom and dad and now the grandparents, too, on Facebook, probably doesn’t help with that.

This all sounds about right to me.  My 2008 take on social media sites, specifically Facebook:

But there are a lot of lonely people out there.
… Most Baby Boomers don’t do virtual social networking because they actually go out and are social. They interact with real people at gatherings, parties, etc. They talk on the phone. They email friends … my guess is that the vast majority of Boomers aren't lonely or confused or need motivation. And even if I'm wrong, all these sites will wear thin soon. If you're lonely, then there's just so much 'social networking' you can do before it begins to reinforce your sad state - and makes you feel worse.

Most of the above still holds up.  What I didn’t foresee is Facebook becoming the generic virtual space for keeping up with friends from high school, college, work through the decades, etc.  These aren’t friends you necessarily hang out with now – and Facebook was originally a ‘here and now’ place for college kids.  How it’s transformed. 

My 2011 NYR is as solid today as it was then:

My New Year’s Resolution
No more scratching my head and being completely baffled by social media marketing experts telling me that consumers want to talk about products, have online conversations about toilet paper or whatever – and have even more conversations with the manufacturers of products. What an odd, insulated view of advertising and marketing.

And this:

03 October 2013
Facebook And Twitter Do Almost Nothing To Drive Sales

More from that TechCrunch piece:

… Twitter, unfortunately, is seeing declining engagement. “36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, but this actually represents a 10-point decrease from the 46% who did so in 2013,” states Pew.

No surprise to me.  My 2012 take on Tweets:

Twitter & Advertising
… “I don’t think the model is necessarily there yet.”  Meaning, a hundred-odd years after the birth of modern advertising, twenty-odd years after the birth of the Web – nobody can figure out how to advertise effectively with social media.  So now let’s concentrate on mobile devices. Mobile advertising will work once social media marketing gurus figure out what the hell they’re doing.

I don’t mind being right for the wrong reasons. Or wrong for the right reasons.

Just for fun:

My Unctuous Smartphone
By Chuck Nyren
huffington_post_logo1There was a movie I never saw about a guy falling in love with his talking phone. That won't be happening with me. I'm not even sure I like her.