At the end of 2012 Facebook (News - Alert) was sitting pretty with a humble 1.23 billion monthly active users on the social networking site. They crossed the billion mark that same year, but there had been rampant speculation by many that the younger crowd was losing interest in Facebook as a form of online socialization, instead opting for things like Instagram (which was then purchased by Facebook for $1 billion).
On a personal level, most early young adapters of Facebook surely saw an increase in their older relatives signing up for the site in the last few years, but a new report from Forrester Research (News - Alert) may show that the decline is not as bad or possibly existent as most were thinking.
According to the research firm, a survey suggests that nearly half of U.S. teen users have actually increased their Facebook usage over the past year. Over 75 percent of teens surveyed say they still use the site. That’s double what they found for Pinterest, Tumblr, or Snapchat.
The concern was touched on by last October when Facebook’s CFO at the time David Ebersman noted that younger teens were using the site less frequently but specified that overall teen participation remained stable.
Over the past few years at the same time that Facebook may be aging, smartphones are becoming more and more universal and are being acquired by younger and younger people. This means that increasingly, teenagers are using Facebook from their mobile devices, now having the ability to post and share from anywhere.
It’s clear that its young user base pushed part of the Instagram purchase. Facebook is constantly developing new apps in a bid for a larger young audience. Most recently, Facebook announced Slingshot, a Snapchat rival with similar features. The only twist on the new app is that you can’t see the messages until you send one yourself to the other user. While the photos and videos on Slingshot delete themselves just like Snapchat, users have the ability to view the files as long as they want to before flicking them away with a finger.
Through app development, creative branding, and mobile growth Facebook has held its firm grasp on the young trendsetting user base that often marks the success or failure of projects in Silicon Valley.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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