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How long will Facebook appeal to 18-35 year olds?

September 23, 2010

An example of an Offlining e-card you can send to your friends

Back in July, Inside Facebook released a graph that showed negative growth for the demographic of 18-35 year olds. At the time, I couldn’t believe it. Now, my personal observations and experiences lead me to believe Facebook may continue to loose users in this demographic.

Falling into this age range myself, with every login, I notice more and more of my friends are missing from Facebook. More courteous friends give warning and announce their exits on their walls— “I’m deleting my account in five days. Take my number if you ever wish to speak with me again!”

The mutual reasons for deleting their accounts: lack of productivity and wanting their lives back.

I must admit, there are times when I login to Facebook to send one quick message to a friend, and before I know it, ka-bam, two hours have passed, and all I have learned is that Sally burned her tongue on her hot cocoa, and Mark broke up with Ashley (for the third time this week).

The drop in Facebook use could be attributed to campaigns like ‘Offlining, Inc.’ ( . ‘Offlining’ encourages individuals to spend less time online and asks that they participate in an Offline Sabbath, a day when participants avoid using all tech devices from sundown to sundown. Visitors to the site can even make a pledge to have 10 No-Device Dinners between now and Thanksgiving Day, 2010. So far, over 10,000 people have made the pledge (chuckling to myself, because to make the pledge you must go online).

There’s no question that social networking sites like Facebook are important vehicles for public relations. With 18-35 year olds using social networking sites less, does this mean our strategic messages can no longer reach them on this medium?

I don’t think so. There are still over 77 million active Facebook users in the United States in this age range. According to Facebook’s statistics page, on average, a Facebook users spends 23 hours a week on the site. I predict, that like me, most users won’t delete their accounts any time soon, but will significantly reduce the hours they spend using the platform. I can’t speak for the entire demographic, but as an early adopter of the social network, I still appreciate all the features it offers, but I’m beginning to realize there are so many other wonderful things I could do with my time.

How about you, readers? Have you taken vows to reduce the time you dedicate to Facebook or other social networking sites?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. George permalink
    September 23, 2010 5:40 pm

    I would like to add my opinion to why people are deleting there facebook accounts. I agree with you that people are realizing they are spending too much time on their account a week and they could be more productive instead of going through your friends photos or playing a facebook games.
    I also believe that the 18-35 demographic has a lot to do with someone being in a professional career and they do not want their employees, coworkers, clients, etc… having access to check out their profile (even if you don’t allow access to non-friends, they can still see some info or sometimes even pictures). An example would be someone trying to get a job. Well , if the person googles you, and your facebook profile pops up, they might be able to access what is being said on your wall, or even pictures that are being posted. Well, one of those pictures might be you passed out from being too drunk the other night, or some other really embarrassing moment.
    That could end up hurting your chance for that job, and people are realizing that facebook is really not that private. So, that could also be contributing to this decline.
    Nice topic, nice blog, nice title to a blog, whats next…?

  2. John permalink
    September 26, 2010 10:32 pm

    I had never heard of “offlining” before, but it’s actually something I’ve been trying to do for about a year now. It’s amazing how hard it is to give up the internet for a day and at the same time how liberating it is to separate myself from it. it does seem a bit counter-intuitive to be doing it online though…
    I think that goes beyond facebook though and even the internet in general. I really appreciate people who can leave their phone in the car when we go to hang out or atleast leave it in their pocket even when they get a message. there are obviously situations where that’s not practical, but I think the major side effect of all of these social media outlets is that people are more available on a superficial level, but much less present in their actual interactions.
    All the forms of communication that we have are tools to help us relate with the people that we care about. They each have their role and each can be misused. I think we all will have to find our own balance though.

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