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Why Old Fogies Prefer Facebook

February 24, 2009


Fun one from Time:

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 are 10 reasons Facebook is for old fogies:

1. Facebook is about finding people you’ve lost track of. And, son, we’ve lost track of more people than you’ve ever met. Remember who you went to prom with junior year? See, we don’t. We’ve gone through multiple schools, jobs and marriages. Each one of those came with a complete cast of characters, most of whom we have forgotten existed. But Facebook never forgets. (See the best social-networking applications.)

2. We’re no longer bitter about high school. You’re probably still hung up on any number of petty slights, but when that person who used to call us that thing we’re not going to mention here, because it really stuck, asks us to be friends on Facebook, we happily friend that person. Because we’re all grown up now. We’re bigger than that. Or some of us are, anyway. We’re in therapy, and it’s going really well. These are just broad generalizations. Next reason.

3. We never get drunk at parties and get photographed holding beer bottles in suggestive positions. We wish we still did that. But we don’t. (See pictures of Beer Country in Denver.)

4. Facebook isn’t just a social network; it’s a business network. And unlike, say, college students, we actually have jobs. What’s the point of networking with people who can’t hire you? Not that we’d want to work with anyone your age anyway. Given the recession — and the amount of time we spend on Facebook — a bunch of hungry, motivated young guns is the last thing we need around here.

5. We’re lazy. We have jobs and children and houses and substance-abuse problems to deal with. At our age, we don’t want to do anything. What we want is to hear about other people doing things and then judge them for it. Which is what news feeds are for.

6. We’re old enough that pictures from grade school or summer camp look nothing like us. These days, the only way to identify us is with Facebook tags. (See pictures of a diverse group of American teens.)

7. We have children. There is very little that old people enjoy more than forcing others to pay attention to pictures of their children. Facebook is the most efficient engine ever devised for this.

8. We’re too old to remember e-mail addresses. You have to understand: we have spent decades drinking diet soda out of aluminum cans. That stuff catches up with you. We can’t remember friends’ e-mail addresses. We can barely remember their names.

9. We don’t understand Twitter. Literally. It makes no sense to us.

10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care. There was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook. That time has passed. Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up. At this point, it’s way cooler not to be on Facebook. We’ve ruined it for good, just like we ruined Twilight and skateboarding. So git! And while you’re at it, you damn kids better get off our lawn too.


Post a comment
  1. February 24, 2009

    Couldn’t agree more, you’re spot on with this post. And this trend of us old folks using Facebook will only grow as more and more of us break down and start using it. How many of your friends fought joining but then once they did, they couldn’t stop?

    Now just wondering if Twitter is going to ultimately attract the “uncool”.

  2. February 24, 2009

    Amazing, all those users, all those uses, all that VC money and Facebook still has not been able to figure out how to get to measurable, sustainable, profitable revenue from volume.

    In other words it’s like the current banking system, insolvent without VC funding.

    Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Cisco all got to sustained profitability for less (a whole lot less) and are all viable businesses.

    Facebook has never had to face reality. Without the VC bank it would fold tomorrow. Now that’s amazing.



  3. February 24, 2009


    I have to disagree with your assessment that Facebook hasn’t yet figured out how to monetize their business and if it weren’t for VC they would fold. In fact I believe its the exact opposite.

    If Facebook wanted to, they could start selling ads just like Yahoo and command a higher price for them. Its the VC money that is allowing them to focus on trying to find the “right” way to monetize the site. Anyone can run ads on a site that generates as much traffic as Facebook, Facebook is truly trying to figure out a much longer, smarter plan of action.

  4. February 24, 2009

    I still have a hard time believing that just because you have lots of traffic you can monetize it. Look at YouTube – it will never return the original investment. It all boils down to value and solving the customer problem. Here’s a couple of questions…

    1. Would you pay for additional Facebook features?
    2. Do you currently click on an advertisement?

    They have the luxury that 99% of other startups don’t have – VC backing while they find themselves. What will be interesting is to see if they can. At some point dilution and valuation does become a serious issue even if you have a liquidation preference.

    Right now it looks like they have to get to profitability otherwise who is going to buy them?

  5. February 26, 2009

    Nice info! Very cool post.I have looked over your blog a few times and I love it.

  6. March 2, 2009

    the best humor has an element of truth to it (or is it the other way around?)

    Either way, nice work Mike – enjoyed this.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Why Old Fogies Prefer Facebook | Health Keeper
  2. Marketing Your Business through Facebook - by Katherine Rafferty « Dr. Scott’s Cool Marketing and Business Blog
  3. Using Facebook to promote your business | Everyday Life Screw-Ups at Daily Screw-Ups by Lorrette Young

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