Does anyone remember the day they first used Facebook? I signed up on November 12th, 2007, and I know this because of the posts I found on my Timeline from that day:
At the time, Facebook was the only platform I used, mostly to send messages to my friends, post status updates, and share photos. But after 8 years on the platform, I’m barely using it.
So what’s getting me (and my fellow millennials) off of Facebook?
1) We have too many friends.
Typically, millennials have around 1,000 Facebook “friends”, making the platform completely impersonal. I wouldn’t want to tell my 1,799 “friends” about the new Netflix series I’m binge-watching, or show them the ice cream sundae I just ate, because I barely know most of them and the large majority wouldn’t care.
Snapchat has become the preferred platform to send updates to friends because we can choose specific people to communicate with, or opt to add a MyStory, still only reaching about 100 close friends. Snapchat also provides an quicker posting-experience with no permanence. Plus, we get geo-filters, and we love geo-filters.
2) Our pictures don’t get ‘likes.’
With recent algorithm changes, not every post appears in our friends’ timelines . So when we make a big profile picture change, or an important status update, we’re not getting the validation, likes or comments, necessary to feel good about our posts.
Instead of uploading every photo we take to Facebook, we choose the best (or most “artsy”) one, apply a filter to it, post it to Instagram, where we know every follower will see it. While some of us are still uploading to Facebook, the platform is mainly acting as an online photo album in case our hard drives crash.
3) The advertisements are annoying.
We millennials do not respond well to traditional advertising. Seriously, it’s the worst. So when our personal feeds are flooded with paid posts, rail ads, and retargeted ads, the perceived purpose of the platform becomes sales and marketing, rather than a place for us to connect with friends and pages we like. Unless Facebook advertising can become more organic and integrated (i.e. the ads on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder, every other social platform…), the invasiveness of the paid posts are going to drive us away.
4) Moms are taking over.
They’ve finally figured out how to use Facebook, and they are making sure everyone knows it. We can’t post anything without an embarrassing comment or even, *gasp*, a share from an older relative. Our pages have become less about what we want to put out there for our friends, and more about what’s appropriate for parents and employers. So while we are forced to be more selective of posts on Facebook, we are turning to other platforms where there is still a “safe,” mom-free culture.
Although millennials might not be active Facebook users anymore, we still can’t get rid of it completely. The platform is an online contact book for us, helping us stay connected to people even if we have lost touch with them. Facebook also stores a rich amount of data about our lives and creates a digital version of our “life history.” We’ve grown with it, and even though we frequent it less, we won’t be growing out of Facebook anytime soon.