Menlo Park, California – If you are like me, you may remember the early days of Facebook back in 2004 when Social Media was still in its infancy. Back then when using “TheFacebook”, you had to be an officially enrolled college student with a verifiable college email address. This set “TheFacebook” apart from other more popular Social Media sites at the time like MySpace. MySpace was the place that was overrun with flashy pictures, older adults, bands, and just about everybody that was using Social Media back in 2004. Only a few short years before that nobody had even heard of Social Media, and many still did not have regular access to the Internet at home.
Facebook Being Overtaken By Elderly Users Over Age 65
Now that Facebook has passed its 10 year milestone, and has been at the top of the world for the majority of the time, things have started to change. In some regards the site has changed, and in others so have the users. Back when I first signed up, you would have never dreamed that your grandma was going to one day sign up. Users would not only have to be enrolled in college, but they could only associate with other profiles who were from the same college unless a friend request was accepted between intercollegiate friends. Then the doors started to open up.
As users like myself graduated college, we were allowed to keep our Facebook profiles which expanded the user base beyond those who were currently enrolled. Next, the flood gates were open for those who were high school students. This is when Facebook went from being a somewhat “underground” social media site, to being something that quickly became a household name. All of a sudden high school girls were mingling with strangers on the Internet, and their profiles were visible to all kinds of people. A few bad decisions from a select number of users, and before you know it parents were urged to monitor their children’s Facebook and other Social Media profiles.
What better way to let mom and dad keep tabs on their young kids than to let them sign up and create profiles too. Now all of a sudden our beloved “TheFacebook” just became the good old fashioned Facebook that we have come to love (or not). The days of posting anything on the site without fear of your parents finding out was gone. A quick search of your profile would turn up all kinds of dirt on any user you wanted. This also urged Facebook to allow users to set their profiles to private, which was not really a consideration in the early days.
I can remember looking through Facebook back in 2004 to find the profile of a fellow student, whom my college roommate and I were having a debate about. I had supposed that this questionable character was a “crackhead”, and my roommate (who took offense on behalf of everyone, as some socially empowered college students try to aspire) claimed that it was unfair for me to make such wild accusations about the guy. Well, not more than 5 to 10 minutes later I had found this guy’s Facebook profile, and some of his pictures. In his profile photos there was a few pictures of him sitting around his living room with friends smoking some suspicious looking substance out of a modified light bulb. While I could not prove at the time that it was crack (probably was Meth), it sure did help me prove my case that the guy was a sketchy piece of work.
Nowadays people rarely post photos like that on Facebook, especially when their poor moms and dads are paying their way through college and probably subsidizing their drug abuse problems at the same time.
Today Facebook struggles to maintain the attention of its younger users due in part to stricter guidelines for what can be posted, and the fact that almost every Tom, Dick, and Harry can make a profile to see what’s going on in your life. Now the site is attracting an older audience. We are talking old, not just old as in mom and dad, but old as in Grams and Gramps. People over the age of 65 are taking to Facebook like its going out of style, and it just might be for some.
It’s not technically a bad thing that Facebook’s users are aging. I myself have gotten older, and am raising a family of my own. My days of being a young and hip 20-something have merged seemingly overnight into the days of turning 30 with kids and driving them around in my responsible Subaru. Even with my relative aging over the past 10 years, I still represent the younger part of Facebook’s demographics. These older users bring with them a greater capability to change the way that advertising works on Facebook, since this audience is more capable of purchasing something online than say a teenager.
We may not welcome the fact that Facebook has become flooded over the years with all walks of life, but Facebook should embrace the fact that they have finally become relevant to people of all ages and still prove to be a valuable tool for keeping the world in touch with each other.
Facebook Being Overtaken By Elderly Users Over Age 65.