Parenting

Parenting: The future of Facebook

Friday, June 01, 2012
facebook

Rarely does a significant segment of the population get so excited about the stock market, however that's exactly what happened on the day now known as Facebook Friday.

Unfortunately it did not go well.

NASDAQ problems delayed the expected 11:00 am start of trading and the underwriter of the IPO had to prop up the stock because it was actually threatening to trade below the $38 start price. Then the following Monday and Tuesday, shares of Facebook plunged. Soon after, came reports that the underwriter was warning investors about future revenues.

Ok so what does this have to do with parenting?

Well I've personally seen signs that children don't think Facebook is as cool as you think. In fact, they may be more in line with recent investors in the stock.

Every time I speak to young children, I ask them about social networking. I ask about information on which networks they use, which ones they don't, which ones they used to use, and what they think about sexting, internet privacy issues, and other related topics.

What do they tell me?

They use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus a few other more minor players. Notice that Facebook is tops on this list. Oh, and for those old enough or lucky enough to have one, they love their smartphones.

Here is what they think about the king of social networking, which is now a publicly traded company: they wish us parents would get off it! Oh, and their teachers too. They also threaten to stop using Facebook as much if we keep using it more.

Why you ask? They think we're watching them.

Remember MySpace? It was the top social networking site of the last decade. Everyone used it - it was hip, it was fun, it featured great music but then it became too cluttered and too busy. For every popular band that had a page, there seemed to be hundreds of bad ones.

Mark Zuckerberg knows all about the fall of MySpace. I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks about it every day, studies it, dissects what caused it to happen and what made it happen so fast.

I'm sure he's heard about this "cool" factor, or lack thereof, when it comes to the youngest users (a good place to remind you, Facebook's policies require users to be at least 13 years old).

The point here is that children seem to be the lead car, the canary in the coal mine, when it comes to social networking and technology. What will be the next big thing? Will it still be Facebook? Will another college student figure out an easier way to connect with your friends, particularly through mobile usage? (Currently that's Facebook's weak spot - the company admits it has trouble monetizing ad revenue on smartphones)

May I suggest two possible motivators for the Next Big Thing. Number one, kids will look for convenience (which includes ease of use and speed of the network). Number two, they will look for something that is, well, cool - or cool-er.

On the flipside when the Next Big Thing happens, us parents will have to figure it all out again.

By the way, Wired.com already has a number of prospects for that Next Best Thing.

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matt o'donnell parenting reports, parenting, matt o'donnell
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