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Facebook Is for Old People

Illustration by John Cuneo for TIME
Illustration by John Cuneo for TIME

In this weeks Time Magazine there is an article called “Facebook Is for Old People”, by Lev Grossman. On the web, the same article is called “Facebook is for Old Fogies”. Hmmmm. Anyway, here is the full article: “Facebook Is for Old Fogies“.

The article starts with a brief intro:

    Facebook is five. Maybe you didn’t get it in your news feed, but it was in February 2004 that Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, along with some classmates, launched the social network that ate the world. Did he realize back then in his dorm that he was witnessing merely the larval stage of his creation? For what began with college students has found its fullest, richest expression with us, the middle-aged.

Here is a summary of Grossman’s 10 reasons old people have taken over Facebook (see original Time article for details) and my thoughts on each.

    1. Facebook is about finding people you’ve lost track of.

I’d agree that this is probably one of the biggest reasons old fogies use Facebook and also a reason why kids don’t need it (yet).

    2. We’re no longer bitter about high school.

True, I hardly remember high school and don’t even recognized some of my old high school friends.

    3. We never get drunk at parties and get photographed holding beer bottles in suggestive positions.

True, for most of us…

    4. Facebook isn’t just a social network; it’s a business network.

True, although this can also be a reason to avoid Facebook.

    5. We’re lazy.

I think “busy” is a better word. Life gets much more complicated after marriage, kids and jobs. Facebook gives users the ability to tie into many other online networks such as blogs, twitter, flickr; sort of like one-stop shopping.

    6. We’re old enough that pictures from grade school or summer camp look nothing like us.

Ya, so?

    7. We have children. There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children.

He’s running out of reasons now. There are plenty of online ways to show off photos of our kids.

    8. We’re too old to remember e-mail addresses.

I don’t think so and besides, we have address books. Who needs to remember email addresses that change all the time anyway.

I don’t understand this reason. Is it, “Cindy is eating a burger and fries” the part that we don’t understand or the twitter network itself? Twitter is much easier to use than Facebook. Anyone who can sent a text message, can twitter. In fact, I’d say that twitter has more to do with whether or not people use text messaging then one’s age.

    10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care.

True, we are not cool and Facebook is no longer cool, it’s gone mainstream. Any hot new web site will lose it’s cool factor once it gets very popular. But true, we old people don’t care about being cool.

I think Grossman’s reason #1 is why so many older people use Facebook, to reconnect with old friends. This is a key feature to facebook which probably was not the intent of the creator Mark Zuckerberg, who just wanted to connect current students. But there is still a lot on facebook for people of all ages. With the privacy settings for friends, networks and groups, both young and old can socialize without being bothered much by each other, just like in real life.

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