Why (and how) many teens are moving out from Facebook

I was the first to opt-out Facebook from my buddies. Since early June I am (one of the few, I have to say, millions of the so called “Western civilization—society” worldwide) who deactivated their Facebook account without any thinking of returning back. Lately, I see a few other friends to deactivating their Facebook accounts and some others who haven’t ever registered for a profile.

This might be a trend — or an effect on people from the notorious Privacy problems. Well, to admit it, I had a fully customized profile. A selected few could see my wall, write, comment, etc while others could not see all of my photos — just some albums in most cases. I had also a list of “friends-I-don’t-know”, who could only see, let’s say, my profile picture.

I was “evangelizing” Privacy settings to my friends. Most of them didn’t care, others looked like “Oh, that’s interesting. I’ll do it.” And from the guys who did not care some of them are asking me how to customize Privacy now. That being said, I don’t think Privacy was an issue for the masses. People didn’t care or didn’t know — that’s exactly were Zuck was and is betting on. Unawareness.

A little bit off-topic: There’s an interesting thought that this “opting-out Facebook” thing is something like a “being alternative” trend — being against masses. Being not “hip” or something. That could evolve into peer-pressure later (in a few months — under a year) — more on peer-pressure in a minute.

The masses will never deactivate/delete their Facebook all-together. They’ll never care for privacy (admit it, we, only the geeks care for such things or evangelize them and so on). They’ll never care why “Like” and not “Fan”. They’ll never care about what technologies are being used by Facebook. They’ll never care why Facebook evolves that way (if they know why Facebook evovles in the first place from a plain soc. net. to a all-things-social-we-control-your-internet thing). They’ll never do something out of the ordinary. In fact, they are bound to one another. Heck, that’s why they’re a mass in first place!

My guess, if there’s any way to achieve or even understand why will ever (if they, honestly) move out from Facebook in masses, this is peer-pressure. Imagine something like a tsunami wave of influences spread very fast. I quit, you quit, he quit. Oh, another one has just quited. This series of events — chain reactions will affect them. They’ll start eventually saying “Uh, oh, something’s going on here. Everyone’s leaving. Nothing else to do here alone, I’ll leave too.” Obviously, this is a pure “early-adopters vs. laggards” concept — and answers both to the “why” and “how” of the question “Why and how teens move out from Facebook.”

But yet again this is, in my opinion, very unlikely to happen. As I can see and observe from friends and people I know, most of the Facebook users are kind of Facebook addicts. But if the thing starts rolling, that equals too a pretty much decent number of people moving out, it won’t stop. Picture this.

Now, picture Diaspora. This is what I am waiting for. This is something really cool. Personally controlled, do-it-all, distributed open-source social network. I pray that it will have easy-to-install packages and installation in general, so it can attract the non-early-adopter geeks, aka the masses and the mainstream. I think this is a good way for pushing peer-pressure. I think Diaspora can become the tipping point, the change for many users.

We’ll see. We cannot predict, we cannot be sure.

What do you think? What’s your opinion about the “why” and the “how” of teens —or in general people— abandoning Facebook?

PS.: I’m 17.

PS. 2: This is post is basically my thoughts on “Why many teens are moving from Facebook” post by eMarketer and the reason why I wrote it, is to publish my thoughts as an ex-Facebook teen. Oh, and by the way, eMarketer’s post is definitely a good piece of read.

posted: July 14, 2010
under: Editorials, Web

9 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    No offense, but distancing yourself and separating yourself under a “geek” category or w/e is a kind of elitistic behiaviour. That being said, how can you claim to be a geek and an outsider when you use mac, which is more popular than God atm? Interesting blog, will read the others as well.

    ~w/e

  2. Apostolos says:

    I’m not sure I follow you. Describing myself as a geek[*] it’s because of my passion about computers and for all things tech in general. And also, what you mean as an outsider? —thanks for your comments btw. [*]: as a lot of other tech people do

  3. Mike says:

    That came out wrong, what i mean to say is that in popular culture, geeks are outsiders. This image of a guy who is actually into this stuff, and willing to “challenge” the system using something as mainstream as mac, just doesn’t quite fit, -_^

  4. Apostolos says:

    That being said, I didn’t know you have to be a non-Mac (which still has a small portion of OSes in Greece) to challenge the system or even use Windoze. All what I mean is “we” only the geeks care for things like privacy and how the news feed is built and the masses don’t and will not care —it’s nothing elitistic in here, it’s a fact.

  5. Dimitris says:

    Nice piece of read Apostolos!
    On conclusion, we can only expect the Diaspora project to fulfill our expectations to all things it evangelizes to bring.

    P.S: My facebook profile is almost deactivated, I log in seldom. Twitta FTW!

  6. Apostolos says:

    I am desperately waiting for Diaspora.

  7. iliaskount says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t Windows the textbook-mainstream OS system in the world? Besides I don’t find any value in criticizing a person for his choice of tools.

    Most of my friends who live abroad are quite privacy-conscious. Online security issues are often covered by news reports on CNN and other major media outlets, thus contributing to the emergence of a “net culture” for the masses.

    On the other hand, most of my Greek friends are oblivious of the privacy threats online, because they believe that these threats occur only when either somebody steals a credit card number or gets involved in an online child pornography ring or slanders a person through anonymous blog posts.

  8. Apostolos says:

    Well, I couldn’t agree more.

  9. Mike says:

    @ iliaskount, if you were answering to my post that is, i don’t criticize for his choice of tools, hell different people have different tastes, i just pointed out a “controversy” if you will, that’s all. And although i believe privacy is a top issue, my opinion is that the best way to render it all useless (that is if you don’t trust most sites with your info) is feed it all with junk info, or conflicting info.