Oldsters are about yesterday.

Youngsters are about today.

Documenting your entire life history, building a timeline, a shrine to yourself, so that the people you grew up with will be impressed? That’s for baby boomers. Their children want nothing to do with it. Kids are for living, oldsters are for dying.

Baby boomers didn’t start the texting revolution…

Want to communicate with your millennial in college? Then you’d better learn how to text, the younger generation barely e-mails. Talking on the phone? Who’d want to waste so much time!

The oldsters are rarely early adopters. They know the value of money, they’re set in their ways. For all the old bloviators bemoaning the loss of privacy online, it’s the kids who got the memo, that if they post pictures of illicit activity they might not get a job in the future. Kids believe in evanescence, oldsters believe in the permanent record. Ergo, the growth of Snapchat.

Kind of like the Facebook phone. The business media did not stop trumpeting its arrival. But the truth is a kid has no problem employing Facebook on his phone, assuming he wants to use it, it’s only oldsters who have this problem, oldsters who are not about to switch providers who are still lamenting the loss of physical keyboards. Want to know how someone’s technologically toast? If they still use a BlackBerry. You’re wiping out utilization, because it’s all about apps. E-mailing and texting back and forth is for business people who miss the future, as they plot where to have lunch.

There seems to be this belief that there’s stasis in the digital realm. As if Microsoft still ruled and tablets were not about to eclipse desktops. Sure, the digital highway is littered with the carcasses of failed enterprises, whether it be MySpace or Pets.com, but to think that iTunes is forever is to have missed the memo. The main asset of iTunes? The credit card numbers. Other than that?

As for Google… It’s been proven no one can eclipse the company in search, but is search, as we know it today, important tomorrow? Are we really gonna just type keywords into a blank field?

Interesting question.

The only company that seems to know what’s going on is Amazon. Which refuses to worry about profits and keeps plowing whatever money it makes into innovation, old style Microsoft innovation, not pure, incredible Apple innovation. Yup, the first iteration of Amazon products always sucks…but they keep on improving them. And they keep adding features to Prime and inventing new products.

What is the new product of Facebook?

Facebook didn’t come up with Tumblr or Pinterest, and certainly missed out on Twitter.

And isn’t it fascinating that the young ‘uns were the last to come to Twitter. The old techies and early adopters were there first. But their parents still don’t understand the need for Twitter, never mind how to use it.

We live in a fluid society. If your result comes up on the second page of Google, it might as well not exist…hell, if it’s not one of the first two or three hits, if not the very first.

Bury that information on Facebook, soon no one will see it.

But those who care are exchanging real time info constantly in the new world. That’s where it’s at.

And searching for profits, locked into an old paradigm, establishing contact between the distant, the lost, Facebook is missing the future.

Look at it this way… Kids already knew their friends, were already in constant contact with them. It’s baby boomers who needed to catch up on the lost souls.

I’m not saying Facebook is toast. I’m not saying no oldsters use Twitter.

But I am saying to look at the trends.

Microsoft owned desktop computing. They’ve even been reluctant to port their productivity apps to the iPad.

Is this a recipe for further success?

Tech is like bands, they’re rarely forever.

And if you want to know what a kid’s up to, going to their Facebook page will tell you very little. Hell, they’re leaving few digital crumbs for their parents… They’re devouring the cookies and leaving no trace!



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Category: Think Tank, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

31 Responses to “Facebook Is For Old People”

  1. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    If you’re going to surf, you have to be in front of the wave.

    Our technological transformation is not a wave, it’s a tsunami.


  2. stonedwino says:

    BR nails it again!

    I was a late Facebook adopter ( I’m rarely on FB now) and an early Twitter adopter. I’m on Twitter all the time for business and personal reasons. To boot, the best way I can communicate with my 14 year old triplet daughters and keep up with what they’re up to is Twitter! Facebook has quickly become geriatric…

  3. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    The social network wars are over. The winner: email!

    “…Email is old and in decline. Chat, texting and social networks are how people interact now, right?

    Well, not so fast.

    With every new social network and social service, with every new instant and not-so-instant way to communicate, email rises in importance. The reason is that with everybody choosing a different communications medium, email is increasingly the only one we all have in common. It’s the glue that holds the social Web together. …”

  4. What you resists, persists………

  5. heisenberg991 says:

    I still have my brick phone.

  6. JEHR says:

    We need to look at nature and think about what is happening there–in the oceans, on the Monsantoed and pesticided fields, at the Arctic ice melting and the climate as it changes. What technology is going to save nature?

  7. RW says:

    Amusing. When I first became aware of texting my only thought was, “how delightfully retro”, since text was all we had in the early days of networked computers (ca 1970′s and early 80′s) — at 300 baud transmission rates & 48K memory (32 working, 16 video)* you’re sure not going to be sending a lot of image/audio files — but now I think it’s probably useful WRT tribal affairs if you already know the overall plan & code, otherwise it’s mainly just (more) bread and circuses.

    *1200 baud and 64K was expensive!

  8. sellstop says:

    It seems the trend is for ever shorter and briefer contacts while they are more numerous.
    From visiting at a country dance to sending letters across the state to sending a telegram to talking on the phone to e-mail to Blackberry to Skype to Twitter. The process is shorter and faster and the herd is tighter and faster. I suppose if a person is raised on television flickering a thousand ideas an hour in front of your face this progression just seems the normal course of evolution.
    It doesn’t seem “normal” to me. It is about as normal as attempting to constantly inflate the money supply while busting union labor and wondering why the average man is deep in debt and there is no demand in the economy.
    It is the craziness of herds.

  9. denim says:

    I expect that one day some clever app writer will have an app for iPhone’s Personal Assistant, Siri. The iPhone user will merely speak the desired text message to Siri and “she” will convert it into text and hands free to boot. And, of course, vice versa, convert the received answering text back into voice.

    • GeorgeMB says:

      I believe Nuance Communications’ Dragon v12.0 speech recognition, or an enterprise version derivative already does just that. It’s voice to text email complete with the ability to assign special delivery instructions. Text to voice is already old news and incorporated into it. Other companies also have offerings for that easier function.

  10. econimonium says:

    I was having an academic discussion last week and the topic was “If you plucked someone from the year of my birth, 1969, to now, would they find 2013 a dizzying and confusing change?” We all agreed, unusually, no. They wouldn’t.

    So I find this letter to be rather funny. Because, frankly, the world isn’t as dizzily different as, say, taking someone from my grandmother’s birth year and dropping them in 1969. Our methods of communication are still the same btw, just morphed. But no one would be surprised at a cell phone I think. No one would be surprised at a computer either. And the internet? After television and radio and radar and rockets? Not so strange. And the letter acts like these same crazy kids, in 10 years time, won’t be separated from the friends they now tweet with in time and space, and will want to interact with them in a longer form way. Still sounds like Facebook to me, but perhaps in another form. I’m sure the kids will then have another way they’ll want to contact each other outside of what their parents did. Kids are like that. So all this “innovation”? Is it the same innovation that took over textiles and farming? How is the cell phone such an improvement over the phone I grew up with? What? I can now mindlessly entertain myself using “apps”? Some innovation. Just like an iPhone. Where’s the “innovation” there? Or in a tablet? Oh right, people can now use silly “apps” that don’t really do anything. Give the masses the lowest common denominator. Oh but we have things like directions and such! Well we always did. It was called a map. And we could make reservations too. Via a quick phone call rather than an app. See? Not so strange right?

    Also where is my flying car? I was promised a flying car as a kid and I want one. Until then, I don’t think we’re “innovating” nearly as much as you think we are. Oh and Google Glasses? When everyone in the room in a tech incubator is laughing out loud about the idea of wearing such “blatantly stupid things” to quote one “kid”….again, not innovation.

  11. jib10 says:

    Twitter shows you everything, every twit from everyone you follow. FB does not. The FB timeline is not yours, FB owns it and decides what to show you. I dont know how long Twitter will keep the stream clean but once they change it, if they change it, twitter will die.

    Surprisingly enough, people consider their social graphs, well, personal, and dont like corps fracking with them.

    Social apps like FB and Twitter are easy to disrupt. Not only are the features easy to implement but you only have to scale to handle your own traffic. And if your are forced to scale fast, thats a good problem to have. Thats why social apps can crash over night. Just like night clubs, there is always a new hot place to hang out starting up. And once all the cool kids go away to the hot new place, no one wants to hang out in your club any more.

  12. stonedwino says:

    Advancing technology is helping us gather information and knowledge to inceriable communicate more efficiently. It’s another tool…

  13. stonedwino says:

    to invariable communicate more efficiently….sorry about that.

  14. Theravadin says:

    Very true. But maybe texting will always be for fourteen year olds. Their friends are (by and large) still people they interact with every day. As they get older, go to different colleges, end up in relationships, get into business… slower media like Facebook/email may seem more relevant again. Facebook is for slower relationships. Email is for more precise communication. Maybe we’re seeing, not a technological tidal wave, but a technological diversification… the development of a real ecosystem, with more an more niches served by more and more specialist applications. Evolutionary theory says that this is the likely outcome.

  15. HKassel says:

    This was really a stupid, ignorant, prejudiced outburst. I am a retired clinical psychologist and college teacher. I taught a lot of stupid, arrogant kids with a tremendous sense of self entitlement. I am not interested in falling all over myself to please younger people, and I don’t view them as superior in any way. I don’t text. That doesn’t interest me. I don’t use face book. My like is not so empty I have to constantly share what I had for lunch or the music I listened to.
    I don’t know what prompted this ridiculous outburst. Apparently it is an attempt to impress people and get status.
    My son is not college age yet. When he is I won’t feel any need to conform to his culture.

    • CitizenWhy says:

      None of the strangers I get fascinating info from on FB go into the triviality of their lives, except occasionally in an amusing way. People who talk trivia in person talk trivia on FB. Those who don’t talk trivia in person do not talk trivia on FB.

      And nothing is more convenient than getting FB Notifications (you have to check a page for this) from the many cultural venues I patronize.

      The young dictate nothing about the use of technology. Each person uses it as he or she sees fit.

  16. TacomaHighlands says:

    Duh. Captain Obvious Lefsetz is. What a genius! The moment FB opened to everyone students got off. That’s been self-evident for a long time. And you wanna know what else about youngsters? They have NO MONEY! And I could care less about using FB to find out about my kids. I KNOW about my kids. Their job is to find out about me. Earth to Lefsetz…I don’t care a thing about what the kids are doing. Most of it’s crap anyway. And too many of them don’t vote and like most smart people, I don’t have a dime invested in FB.

  17. OscarWildeDog says:

    Wait a minute here. Everything in life is iterative. Coupled with the fact that boomers were the first generation to embrace technology within the context that the author is writing about, I think you’re being a bit too hard on us. In addition to context, we boomers also have the benefit of time – time within technology. Sure, kids are great with their thumbs, just not so great with their pants. Hell, if I didn’t care, then I’d look down at my crotch all day and contemplate my, er, text.

    When we boomers were occupying college campuses, protesting the war and generally eschewing our parents’ values, we got it. But we didn’t claim to be the “all knowing new generation” when it came to technology. Look at Gates and Jobs. PART of the reason they were able to do what they did was because they were not working for someone else, they didn’t have families or have to worry about putting a kid or two thru college. Young people DO solely because they can and they have the opportunity.

    When personal computers came out for REAL in the early ’80′s, I knew a lot of people in their 30′s, 40′s and older who, in most cases, embraced these things more than people my age. The author talks as if “young people” suddenly have risen up from out of nowhere and are showing the rest of us the way. No. As I said, everything is iterative. Someone born in 1989 is one year older than a person born in 1990, and so on. There is no age cutoff. There is no “us” vs “them.” We learned that lesson 40 years ago.

    However, if young people DO want to think they want to be early adopters, why don’t they rise up on campuses like we did? Why are they coming off of elite campuses in greater numbers joining Wall Street firms? Doesn’t sound like they “get it” to me. And sorry, apps are not the new “thing” like computers or microchips were. Apps are the iteration stemming from the slow death of the PC, the morphing of the tablet, and the evolution of mobile computing.

  18. Moopheus says:

    A bit of messing around with the demographic data Facebook provides to potential advertisers suggests that this is not right. I mean, I suppose it’s possible Lefsetz has some nonanecdotal data he’s not sharing and didn’t just pull this out of his derriere. I know how much BR loves him some slideshare, so I submit this:

    The large majority of Facebook users are not old.

  19. “But I am saying to look at the trends.”

    Look at the trends? Why bother? Just look over the shoulder of the ‘youngster’ sitting next to you. If you did, you’d see that they’re all still on Facebook. Twitter? Yawn.

  20. CitizenWhy says:

    Young people will grow old. Old people, despite what some like to tell themselves, will not grow young. As people grow older their habits will change.

    Some of us oldsters are not so social. We had good liberal arts educations and can finally spend most of or time thinking, writing, seeing things fresh through art and poetry (especially slams). And community gardening. In other words, no technology is social networking for some of us. We’re jut not that social online. BTW, many young people do not use technology for socializing. That is so high school.

    I can walk or take a short bus rides to at least seven excellent live theater companies, six of them cheap enough to fit my modest pension budget. Plus a great acoustic music venue and showcase for new filmmakers. I sign up for cheap courses, meet interesting people, recite or act. The cultural activities fr young people are packed.

    How do I know what’s going on culturally from day to day? Facebook. I like or friend all the cultural venues and click to get their notifications. Notification show up separately, in a section that looks very much like Twitter. The rest of what I get are funny cartoons, or intelligent articles, or occasional interesting insights from strangers I have “befriended” (superficially speaking).

    So someone like me uses FB mainly to communicate with myself, not others. As a kind of old-fashioned commonplace book. it’s great file cabinet for articles and comments. That’s about it. Twitter, meh. BTW, Instagram is what youngsters are supposedly into. Who cares? Of course you would care if you have to market. But not if you’re a liberated oldster, however modest the pension. Social networking for me is a series of random, pleasant conversations with a wide variety of people. I use my MacBook Air mainly to write anywhere, including in the park. I don’t need WiFi to get to my files in the Cloud. But weirdly enough, on Facebook I even found a cousin from the Midwest living in Croatia. I friended him for interesting posts, never told him I was a cousin. Not interested in the technologically personal.

    Which brings up Amazon. Why does anyone buy a Kindle anymore? I downloaded Kindle free to my MacBook Air. I see comments from people complaining that they can’t copy text in Kindle, they can’t tell or cite the print version page number, they can’t make notes. So they’re going back to books. But you can do all this on Kindle on your portable device, super easy to upgrade. All free.

    I realize tis is a business column. Just wanted to give the perspective of an oldster liberated from business concerns and busy with personal, but non-social concerns in their use of technology.

  21. [...] Turned off, tuned out, drop dead, Oldsters are about yesterday. [...]

  22. Patrick Neid says:

    I for one certainly hope the Facebook naysayers, like Lefsetz, are wrong. I would take CitizenWhy’s comment, “So someone like me uses FB mainly to communicate with myself, not others. As a kind of old-fashioned commonplace book. it’s great file cabinet for articles and comments”, a step further. FB’s timeline is my personally designed newspaper that updates all day from the previously selected inputs. Perhaps there are other approaches to the same but I have not found anything that even remotely compares–nor have my limited amount of friends. So you all keep on “tweeting” to each other like the birds in my local rain forest but leave Facebook alone!

    Email is not going away. It will always be the place for private communication sans Holder of course!

  23. SumDumGuy says:

    It’s a well writtern post, but is this reality? I know a lot more 20 and 30 somethings that use FB than 40 somethings and above.

  24. Chad says:

    Based on the anecdotal evidence I have found Mr. Lepsetz is more correct than not. The few younger people I know (early twenties to late teens) use Twitter and texting much more than they use Facebook, and they definitely don’t use email. While, in my generation (X), the more tech savy seem to fall that way, as well. Boomers seem to struggle with all of it, as a whole. Yes, there are always exceptions.

    It’s probably correct to generalize and assume young non-techies use Twitter and texting far more than older non-techies, while older non-techies probably use Facebook more than the younger non-techies. In my mind, it’s the “non-techie” part that matters, as that suggests where the major trend is going. Techies use everything at all ages, so they don’t always point the way.

    Personally, I despise Facebook and love Twitter. Amazingly enough, 140 character Twitter conversations are far more in depth than any Facebook conversation I have had. Twitter seems to attract heavy and comedic issues, while Facebook seems to attract the mundane.

  25. [...] Facebook Is For Old People Big Picture [...]

  26. [...] Facebook is for Old People (The Big Picture) [...]