Monday, September 17, 2007

Grandma hates Facebook

I already blogged about this once, but it seems there has been more chatter lately about age-centric social networking sites that appeal to the characteristically Luddite community of Baby Boomers and beyond.

Here's a recent New York Times article, if you haven't heard of this before.

This guy writes a bit more critically about the decline (without any substantial rise) of Eons, a community site for "people lovin' life on the flip side of 50!" (not my exclamation point). He blames the site's failure on its very premise--to connect people because of their age group, rather than through shared interests or interest in certain kinds of content. I would tend to agree.

That's the problem with trying to extend the Facebook phenomenon beyond the Facebook age group. When Facebook started out, we all joined the site because we were all in college. Everyone could add the list of courses they were taking, join the groups related to their school and connect/communicate with classmates. We were all the same age AND we all had similar interests and experiences. No matter how different their educations might be, a 21-year-old at a community college will have some basic experiences in common with a 21-year-old at Yale. The same cannot be said for two 52-year-olds who have spent their lives on different educational, occupational and socio-economic trajectories.

When social networking sites try to expand out into the Real World where people are not in the protective homogeneous college bubble, something gets lost in the translation. In order for such a site to succeed, there needs to be a common experience or interest to attract individuals who want to interact with one another. Age just isn't enough of a common bond.

I don't know why I find all of this so terribly interesting, but I do. Just wait for my book to come out.

1 comment:

Kelly Mahoney said...

I just had a conversation with my college friends this weekend about how facebook is a little on the slide. It's just not as exciting as it used to be. Are we just easily bored? Facebook just isn't as useful post-college, I guess, mostly because it's creepy to just search people out for the hell of it. You're completely right that people have to have some other bonding point.

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