Hospital Marketing: Facebook is Growing Up and Getting Older

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Teens and students are abandoning their use of Facebook – Privacy Is the Issue

Between January and July of this year about 900,000 high school students and 1.6 million college students have gone missing from Facebook, according to a recent article by Jeff Neff in Advertising Age.   Where have they gone?  It seems they have gone “in-hiding”.  Facebook and Comscore report that users under 18 and 18-24 continue to grow but they are hiding their identity and not using the social media site nearly as much as in the past.

In it’s early stages, Facebook was all about students, high school and college.   But the real growth in the past couple of years on Facebook has been middle-aged adults and primarily women.  That means parents (especially moms), parents’ friends, grandparents, prospective employers and teachers are active on Facebook and can view profiles.  As a result, students are revealing less about themselves.

Students may still visit Facebook but are not providing as much information and are not as engaged.  They are actively using Facebook less and less.  Facebook was once a place almost entirely for students, now students are moving away from Facebook because they don’t want to share the same turf as their parents and older adults.  They are much more private on the site and are seeking new venues, away from adults.

So as a hospital marketer, if you think Facebook is just a place where teens and young adults play, you are wrong.  The adults have taken over and the students have gone into hiding.  Facebook has become a site for older adults and thus perhaps more useful as a marketing tool.

Facebook is no longer your child’s playground.

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