Is Generation X Bailing on Facebook?

Posted on 03/27/2018 in misc

Gen X chart

As I've written previously, I've changed how I use Facebook. It's mostly about Groups and Events for me. I unfollowed everybody except my wife and kids. Now, when I want to check in with my friends I simply go straight to their walls or I use the "New Posts" filter on my friends list. By doing that and not relying on the FB algorithm to decide what I see, I've noticed a few things that are maybe not so apparent otherwise.

  1. Facebook use among my friends has declined dramatically. I have 223 friends on Facebook, most of them 40+. I think we are supposed to be "the" Facebook demographic, as FB is not cool enough for Millenials. If my friends are representative of any kind of trend, Facebook has some serious issues beyond being a front for Russian trolls. Many people that used to update daily now basically don't update at all. Hell, I'm in that category myself. It's obvious when I use the New Posts filter and see no new posts by people that not long ago were real active here.

  2. When you click through to user walls and see nothing but posts by that user, it's apparent how much of what they post wasn't making it to your feed. In most cases that is a good thing as Facebook was hiding stuff I don't care about. So the algorithm was possibly doing a better job than I realized at filtering stuff I didn't want to see.

  3. The 80/20 rule was very much in play with the algorithm. 20% of my friends were responsible for 80% of my news feed. That is generally good as FB seemed to recognize who I enjoyed interacting with and pushed more of their updates to my wall. However, people also seemed to get buried in that mix when I otherwise would have wanted to see what they are posting.

  4. The decision to unfriend somebody can be hard when you base it on what you see on your wall. Click through to their profile. Seeing 10 crazy NRA gun conspiracy posts in a row makes it real easy to click unfriend.

  5. I really wish we had an alternative to Facebook. I'm techie enough to find ways to work without it. It's not an option for most though.

  6. When you search "Facebook Generation X" DDG image search returns mostly images related to ad targeting on Facebook.

I don't think it's primarily the bad news about Facebook that is driving the reduced usage. The fact is people my age mostly went 20+ years without interacting at all with their old high school friends. Once the initial rush passed I suspect many have realized that they were OK with not knowing the day to day details of the lives of 300+ people. It can be kind of exhausting keeping up.

However, today was literally the first time I missed something because I'm not on Facebook regularly. A Facebook friend I have not met in real life was 15 minutes from my house for a speaking engagement, and I didn't know until 2 days past the event. So I missed my chance to meet Melissa Wiley in person. Next time...

Like everything else in the world, Facebook is not all bad or all good. It's both. But I'm not going back to feeding the Facebook beast. My blog is good enough for me.

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