Teen social networking fatigue?

Now that parents are flooding Facebook, might it be losing cachet for teens? The fastest-growing age breakdowns in the past three months were women 55-65 (175.3% growth), 45-54 (165%), and 35-44 (154%), according to InsideFacebook.com (the site also just passed the 200 million mark for users worldwide, the San Jose Mercury News reports). Not that it's a quid pro quo, but people who follow this stuff are wondering if there's a new "place" on the horizon where teens might prefer to hang out – for example, maybe the part of the wireless spectrum that text messaging uses. The indicators of texting's popularity (teens are sending and receiving 2,274 a month, on average, the Washington Post reports) suggest that it may be stealing some of users' Facebook time. But a sudden mass migration is unlikely (people don't just leave social sites – not if their friends don't leave). More likely is that "FB passion among youth is fading," as social media researcher danah boyd observed in Twitter and Facebook the other day.

Responding to that, YPulse founder and youth marketing blogger Anastasia Goodstein wrote in her blog that "it may be that teens aren't necessarily going somewhere else; they’re just spending less time on social networks and more time socializing in real life, texting, etc. That makes sense to me, that Facebook (and for many teens MySpace) will need to move over and make room for the growing number of other tools in their social toolbox – an important one, nonetheless, because it does represent a tool *bundle* (email, real-time chat, asynchronous wall comments, etc.). So it may be kind of naïve and adult to think there has to be a single new place or technology teens will adopt en masse, (though social networking was like that back in 2005, that was then, this is now). [Other noteworthy FB numbers: though no longer the fastest-growing, 18-to-25-year-olds are still the biggest population segment of Facebook by far (43%), parents may be interested to know that 13-to-17-year-olds make up only 12% of the FB population.] There's more on social-networking fatigue, enthusiasm, and ambivalence at Yahoo News. And from the "This just in!" Department: comScore just released data showing that Facebook now accounts for about a third of all online social networking worldwide and 4.1 out of every 100 minutes we all spend online, The Guardian reports.

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