Facebook is for Kiddies, Right?

May 23rd, 2008 by Bob Bly

In another breathless Fast Company column about social media and high-tech toys, Robert Scoble got excited about some gizmo that made it easier for him to access Facebook.

I e-mailed him and asked him, in all sincerity, why he — given that he is an adult — or anyone else long out of diapers would care about Facebook?

According to an article in eM+C (6/08, p. 17), 87% of U.S. Facebook users are age 30 or younger.

Honestly, I would have expected the statistic to be that 100% of Facebook users are age 20 or under.

I cannot for the life of me understand why any rational adult — aside from pedophiles looking to set up their next felony encounter, or bored, unemployed young adults living in their parents’ basement — would spend one second on Facebook.

I hope Scoble will clear this up for me. But if not, and you use Facebook, can you?

I just don’t see the appeal or value.

Share

This entry was posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 1:29 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

43 responses about “Facebook is for Kiddies, Right?”

  1. James said:

    This from the guy that still sends audio tapes with his copyrighting promotional package. (I still haven’t found anything to listen to it on.)

    Take this in the spirit in which it is intended… The idea of a requirement anymore for being a certain age or having certain experience before becoming the CEO or owner of a business, let alone a consumer, is long gone.

    The idea of the “large” corporation is going away, and those small companies that are springing up are being put together by and for people under 40… people that use facebook.

    Consider it the next baby boomer trend, but we aren’t waiting for it, and it’s here right now!

  2. Steve said:

    I guess 13% are journalists who need to write about Facebook.

  3. Kara S said:

    Seriously??? I guess I qualify as one of those 13% over 30. Facebook is a great way to catch up with people from your past – old friends, classmates – people that you’ve lost contact with because of moving and life. In the past year I’ve been able to talk with friends I never thought I’d hear from again. (ya know those high school friends that you kept in touch with for a couple of years while in college and then dropped off the planet.) Sure, there’s all the applications and misc. “kiddie” stuff on Facebook, but it is a great tool for networking as well as finding people with same interests.

  4. Chris McMahon said:

    Prediction: Bob Bly’s next post will be titled “Damn Kids, Get of my Lawn!”

  5. Kristi Holl said:

    I’m a way-over-30 Facebook user. My daughter (29) is on her second tour of duty in Iraq. Every member of our family set up Facebook accounts just before she left again as a way to keep in touch with her–posting photos, little “thinking of you” notes, etc. I know many military families that keep in touch with deployed kids this way. I don’t use it for anything else though.

  6. Brian said:

    Well, facebook started out as the more professional, serious alternative to MySpace. Then it just degraded and became the next MySpace.

    As for Scoble, he’s the king of the self-fulfilling prophecy. I had been following him on Twitter. Then the other night he started talking about, and I’m assuming taking pics of, the stickers on his laptop. It was the perfect, “I don’t have anything to say, but I’d better say something so that next week I can write a column about how much traffic there is on Twitter” moment.

  7. Gary (aka fool4jesus) said:

    Funny. Even my 14-year old son is pretty much fed up with facebook. He says he still gets on there to talk to his friends, but now he just ignores all the stupid applications and quizzes.

    A friend of mine (who is herself under 30, but that’s not really relevant here) and very much into regional politics uses it a lot to network with people, build awareness of her “brands” (politicians), etc. Actually, I ought to ask her what exactly she does use it for.

    - Gary (a 40+ occasional facebook user)

  8. Gary (aka fool4jesus) said:

    Actually, Bob, if this is how you see facebook, can you tell us your thoughts on twitter? Or can they not be used in mixed company? :D

  9. Kelja said:

    Who’s got the time to waste? Yes, I’m north of 30 by quite a bit and certainly no Luddite. But there’s better things to do.

    And keeping in touch with people from the past? There’s a reason they’re in your past and not in your present. Leave ‘em lie.

    You know, Bob, I think this is stems from a culture that has to be continuously entertained.

  10. Bob Bly said:

    James: I send CDs, not audios. As for not finding anything worth listening to, marketers find its contents so valuable, I am invited at 5K a pop to present the same material live to their staff. Perhaps they know something you do not….

    Gary: My thoughts on twitter: I have none, because I’ve never even seen it.

    Kara: Who has time to spend searching for old friends and classmates? I’m much too busy with the real work of work, taking care of my family, and living life to be nostalgic about old high school or college chums. Seems an unproductive use of time and energy to me….

    Kelja: You hit the nail on the head: it’s people looking for entertainment, perhaps because their jobs or life are not entertaining enough….

  11. Dianna Huff said:

    Bob, Actually Facebook is for business purposes. The CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess writes the Running a Hospital blog and he also has a Facebook account where employees can contact him.

    Social networking sites like Facebook do have a business purpose. However, if you’re busy, the way I am, you can’t keep up with them. I’m on LinkedIn because that is where my clients are — however, even that can take alot of time if you let it.

    As for Twitter, I simply cannot comprehend being that connected. But that is probably due to my age and the fact that I’d rather spend my time with my family, walking the dogs, or reading.

  12. Jesse Hines said:

    @Bob,

    I’m pretty much with you on Facebook–I think it’s great for those under 30, or probably, under 20.

    But for working adults–and particularly for business purposes?–it’s just another thing that takes up time from, as you say, “the real work of work, taking care of my family, and living life.”

    @Kelja,

    You make a great point when you observe:

    “And keeping in touch with people from the past? There’s a reason they’re in your past and not in your present. Leave ‘em lie.”

    I’m with you and Bob that if we have a life, that’s where our focus, energy, and time should be, rather than nostalgia for people we used to know but haven’t seen in years.

    Carpe diem. While you still can.

  13. Bob Bly said:

    Dianna: I think you have nailed it. Social networking sites are a great opportunity for those of us who need to network for business or career advancement to achieve those goals. But if you already have much more business than you could ever hope to handle, you need to spend your time doing your work, not twittering around on Twitter.

  14. Chad said:

    It always bugs me when people use Facebook for business purposes.

    I dislike getting friend invites from people I don’t know and can’t stand people who think I’d be interested in their every blog post. But if you’ve been more than an acquaintance sometime in my life then Facebook is a great way to keep in touch without having to “keep in touch”.

    I have 484 friends on Facebook. I would NEVER email about 450 of them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing what they’re up to – hearing they’re engaged, seeing their new kid, wishing them happy birthday on their wall, enjoying the photos from their travels, etc.

    Like somebody said earlier – “there’s a reason they’re in your past and not in your present”. I, on the other hand, won’t “leave ‘em lie.” I like seeing what they’re up to here and there – and Facebook is the perfect way of doing so (since Email, Snail Mail, and Phone Calls are way more formal).

  15. Dianna Huff said:

    Chad, I sometimes wonder if it’s an age thing. I enjoy knowing what other people are up to, too. I guess that is why I subscribe to so many e-newsletters and read people’s blogs. I enjoy seeing brief glimpses of people and their personal lives.

    However, I really don’t want to people to know what I’m doing ALL the time. Nor do I think they really want to know!

    Bob — I agree with you. I would much rather spend my time reading a book on how to make my business more profitable than follow banal postings on Twitter.

  16. Richard said:

    I got a facebook account to keep up with what my daughters are up to. Then I read that facebook is the next big thing so I am paying more attention to it. Then I noticed that Charlie Byrne of Early To Rise has a facebook account when he mentioned it in a column last week. So he and I are now “friends” whatever that really means in the real world. Through him I asked to be friends with Rich Schefren who is a biggie in the online world.

    So I’ll spend a minimum of time watching this and see what happens. I know that when the telephone was introduced many said who would ever need a telephone when you can just go across the street and see a person face to face? Ditto with Federal Express and now people can express mail steaks. Who would have thought of it?

  17. @CoachDeb said:

    Not seeing the value of Facebook or Twitter or any other social network is like not seeing the value of networking in general – whether it’s face to face in a client/prospect mtg or at a conference.

    Personally, I don’t have the time to fly all over the world to meet & greet speaking at conferences these days.

    I am much more productive by meeting and greeting 100′s at a time via Twitter, instead of a few dozen at an in person event that I have to waste time flying from Hawaii to get – minimum of 5+ hours to get anywhere.

    Weird – I must be among the mere 13% who has 3,000 friends/followers OVER 30 years of age on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace (@CoachDeb on Twitter, “MotivationMD” on MySpace * “DeborahMicek” on Facebook)

    I am intrigued how many men just don’t get online social networks. And I wonder if this gives women who DO get it, and participate in the new media marketplace the edge…

    http://snipurl.com/womenrule

    I guess time will tell if Facebook & Twitter is just another productivity killer – and an utter waste of time – or the new way to meet new people & stay connected to what’s relevant in the marketplace in this century – in the fastest way possible.

    PS: I only came across this post after commenting on Robert Scoble’s post via Twitter this evening replying to Bob Bly’s question to him.

    Results via statistics?

    Robert = 20 comments within 20 minutes of posting at 3:00AM!

    Bob Bly = 12 comments (not including his own or repeats) over the course of 4 days.

    Now – you tell me if TWitter is still an utter waste of time.

    (Who knows what it will be in another few hours when @Scobleizer’s east coast followers wake up)

    But I’ll be watching – since I’m following Robert Scoble via Twitter – the one who tweeted about China’s earthquake 3 minutes before any “old news sites” had any mention of it.

    http://Twitter.com/CoachDeb

  18. Dianna Huff said:

    Deb,

    I attend real world conferences and networking events. I also “get” social media and use it.

    But, just how many people can you actually connect and keep up with? I have about 400 or so people in my in-house database — I’m probably in contact with half of them on a regular basis.

    I cannot imagine being “friends” with 3,000 people, nor would I want to.

    At 3:00 AM my time, I’m asleep. During east coast business hours, I’m usually working! Someone has to pay the bills — and following all kinds of blog posts — whether they’re Tweets or traditional posts — usually doesn’t do the job effectively. :-) (Which means, I really need to get off this discussion thread!)

    Here is dumb question for you: how does Twitter make money?

  19. Bob Bly said:

    Deb: I have over 50,000 subscribers to my e-newsletter with whom I communicate weekly via e-mail. In exchange, they send me between $4,000 to $10,000 a week to buy my information products. How much money do your 3,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace send you each week?

    Also, networking is only of value depending where you are in your life and career. At this point in my career, I have much more work than I could ever hope to handle, and people know where to find me. So doing Twitter or whatever would be a waste of time better spent on projects I am writing for clients and publishers.

  20. S.P. Gass said:

    Bob, I agree with you. I published this blog entry earlier this year on the subject if interested: http://lowtechtimes.com/2008/03/17/facebook-accounts-are-completely-unnecessary/

  21. @CoachDeb said:

    Yes, I have purchased your products in the past and LOVE them Bob! Great stuff. Your content, books, etc. alll great.

    However, for the small business owner who hasn’t yet built up a name for himself/herself & doesn’t yet have a subscriber list of 50,000 – 100,000 as some of these big Internet Marketers have – NEED some way to connect online – esp if they can’t get to in person events – or don’t have time for them.

    For you, if you’re satisfied w/ the work you’ve got – no need to join or participate in Twitter.

    We’re glad you have this blog that you participate w/ your clients/subscribers – b/c it allows us to really “feel” like we’re getting to “know you”. (Perhaps a need more for women who buy online more than men?)

    This subject of men vs. women on social networks and who is more likely to gravitate to them was largely debated one weekend on the new media blog of Entrepreneur Mag:

    http://snipurl.com/entmag3

    But let’s put the “monetary” aspect aside for just a moment re: Twitter & look at “other uses” for Twitter – such as:

    > getting news alerts
    > learning about the earthquake in China before any news source started reporting it

    Now this might not seem relevant for anyone not interested in what’s happening half a world away – however it’s highly relevant for me living in Hawaii – needing as much notification to watch for Tsunami alerts.

    Imagine being able to alert my Hawaii following of an earthquake in Japan that could translate into Tsuanmi for our islands, and being able to save lives, protect property, animals, etc.

    Weather reports like this are happening all over TWitter locally in different states & countries around the world. So for someone else – it might be a Tornado warning, or storm warning, etc.

    I learned about an accident while stuck on a 2 lane highway on the north shore via TWitter.

    There are more and more accounts like this happening all over the place – not related to monetary benefit at all – unless you value your life in monetary terms.

    So – I spent this time here (when I should be streaming LIVE via Ustream w/ my clients) because I honestly hope I can shed light & offer a different perspective about Twitter / Facebook etc. than many people are currently talking about.

    Keep on blogging! & providing the value that you do.

    http://TwitterHandbook.com

    will share more and more stories of how Twitter is being used for diverse purposes.

  22. Bob Bly said:

    What bothers me most is the evangelical attitude of new media advocates. If you love all this stuff, fine. But why does Scoble feel the need to mock those of us who either are not interested in it or do not understand it? Why do blogging consultants attack those of us who have great success in — and make lots of money with — old media like direct mail, e-mail, and landing pages?

  23. Alana Taylor said:

    Old media used to be new media at some point. You’re just afraid of change, that’s all.

  24. James said:

    Bob,

    The sample that I received from you about three months ago had an audio cassette in it.

    I would find it worth listening to, as I respect your knowledge, and I own a few of your books, but it’s been about 5 years since I used a cassette player.

    I know you know your stuff, but the audio tape you sent me (3 months ago) kind of put me off.

    If I send it back, can I get a CD… (another soon to be dated technology)

  25. Bob Bly said:

    James: you don’t need to send it back. Just email your snail mail address to me at rwbly@bly.com and we’ll send the CD to you.

    Alana: I am not afraid of change. But I am smart enough to spend my time and money on what gives me the greatest ROMD (return on marketing dollars) — not just on what’s hip and trendy.

  26. @CoachDeb said:

    I suppose b/c I consider myself a business consultant – NOT a “blogger” or new media nazi.

    I am however very excited about how new media has given the SMALL business owner the opportunity to get big & get exposure on a very limited budget.

    Where they might not be able to afford to do a direct mail piece – but they have no excuse not to get their name out on social networking sites, etc.

    Think of these new media things as “free PR”. You can apply the same tag line from your book “Targeted Public Relations” “how to get thousands of dollars of free publicity for your product, service, organization or idea.

    Does that help put it in a different perspective?

    For me, I’ll reread your book on my shelf (now moved to my desk) and look at it w/ fresh eyes w/ all the cool new tools to be able to apply some of the strategies – just in a “different way” – or using a “different TOOL” b/c that’s all Blogging really is – a TOOL.

    Personally – I think the companies who totally ignore OFFline marketing will not have the edge that a business will have if they do BOTH – online AND offline – in order to meet the most amount of people where THEY want to be reached.

    Make more sense?
    Does this help?

  27. Kara S said:

    @Bob – You put words in my mouth – I never said I spent time searching for old classmates. When you go through the sign-up process for Facebook (and I realize you chose to “review a product” without actually trying it for yourself, otherwise you would know what it’s all about), some of the information you have the option to provide is your alma mater. Then if there’s already an existing network for the school, your name is added to the list.

    Kristi & Chad – I totally agree with you and why you use Facebook. With family and friends spread out across the country, it’s an easy, fast, convenient way to share photos and other life events with each other. Much more efficient than sending multiple emails and following up with all of them.

    And I never said it takes energy to use Facebook.

  28. Bob Bly said:

    Kara: Do you know how much time I spend sharing photos and other life events with family and friends spread out across the country? None. If you’re busy and productive, you don’t have time for such nonsense. And if I really want to reconnect with an old friend, I pick up the phone and call.

  29. Michael R. Bernstein said:

    “Do you know how much time I spend sharing photos and other life events with family and friends spread out across the country? None.”

    How sad.

    “And if I really want to reconnect with an old friend, I pick up the phone and call.”

    That’s ridiculous. How would you find their current contact info (unless you’re assuming they’ve never moved)? Heck, if they’re female, how would you even necessarily know their current last name?

  30. Bob Bly said:

    Michael: It is surprisingly easy to find people offline — if you know how. Usually I can do it with a phone call or two. And what’s sad to me is the out-of-control sending of useless and irrelevant crap (bad jokes, video clips) back and forth via e-mail. It wastes both your time and the recipient’s. When I get one, I reply by asking the sender not to send me any more stuff.

  31. James Mulvey said:

    SHOW SOME respect for Bob Bly. He is a great teacher and awesome direct marketer. His question is sincere and he wants a real response–not “Facebook is popular and therefore why would anyone not want to be on Facebook????”

    Stop slamming him just because he isn’t jumping on the bandwagon.

    Bob, for me, Facebook is simply a way to kill some time. Most of my high-school friends are on there as well as new friends so I just see what they are up to. I will usually hear news on the site (for example, if someone has died, or if a friend is sick), as well as people will send me silly stuff like videos.

    You should find some of your old friends on Facebook and then it will grow on you. But social media is over celebrated. In 5 years, people will look back and say: “Wow 2010 you are talking to each other on the internet, how modern of you. Get over yourselves.”

    Facebook, Twitter, is only about connecting with people and sharing jokes, news, and things that interest you and your peers.

    It is a way to kill time. It’s nothing new really.

    Much respect,

    james

  32. Kenisha said:

    Excellent article. I will be dealing with many of these issues as well..

  33. games 2011 ps3 said:

    Hi there, I was thinking you most likely want to understand that very often after i look at your internet site I see a new Five-hundred world wide web hosting server problem. I believed you may be interested. Take care

  34. contemporary home said:

    contemporary home…

    [...]Facebook is for Kiddies, Right? – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog[...]…

  35. Tienda de Videojuegos Online | Picagua.com | Comprar videojuegos de PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2, DS, 3DS | Todo en Videojuegos said:

    Tienda de Videojuegos Online | Picagua.com | Comprar videojuegos de PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2, DS, 3DS | Todo en Videojuegos…

    [...]Facebook is for Kiddies, Right? – bly.com blog – bly.com direct marketing blog[...]…

  36. samsung 1080p hdtv said:

    You have written an amazing article with many valid, unique points that are interesting and thought-provoking. It excites me to read informative content written by a writer who is so obviously knowledgeable in this area. http://www.samsung1080phdtv.net/

  37. Valutazione Sterlina Inglese oro said:

    I do agree with all the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for beginners. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  38. Ufc 166 fight card said:

    Hello, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but
    when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, terrific blog!

  39. becoming comfortable said:

    This piece of writing gives clear idea in support of the new visitors of blogging, that
    in fact how to do blogging and site-building.

  40. Google said:

    is updated frequently with free advice about Google Ad – Words strategy, tactics, tips tricks and techniques for success in Ad – Words advertising.
    The website speed test at Secret Search Engine Labs will analyze how
    fast a page on your site is loading and give you tips on how to improve it.
    You need to make your potential customers aware of your products and services to ensure
    that they recognize them as valid solutions to
    their everyday problems.

  41. sdq said:

    you’re actually a just right webmaster. The website loading pace
    is amazing. It kind of feels that you are doing
    any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece.

    you’ve done a wonderful task on this matter!

  42. https://sites.google.com/site/bestmotorcyclehelmetsnow said:

    Most 200 dollar range helmet are only DOT or ECE approve
    but not SNELL approve, however, the new Prime Vector, Prime Rampage, and Prime
    solid not only meet DOT but SNELL standard also, a feat
    that not every helmet company can claim. Take the cloth and rinse it out with cold water, squeeze out all the excess soap from the cloth.
    We’ll talk about the technology behind them and how well they work.

  43. pool desk prime said:

    Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your articles.

    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
    the same topics? Thanks!

Leave a Reply