I joined Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t previously had any intention of doing so; I didn’t really see the point. But, one afternoon I ran into one of our marketing instructors on campus, and she said I should sign up. She is organizing a networking group of business-department-related staff for the fall, and is going to use Facebook as her means of communication and connection.
So I created an account, and as soon as I finished my profile, two of my best friends from high school turned up as members. One was the guy that I grew up across the street from. I “friended” them both, and it was great to hear where they were and what they were doing. Another friend that lives here is on there, and I get to see the latest pictures of her grandchildren while they’re still current.
It was interesting to see that so many fellow fifty-somethings that I knew were on there. Weird; I thought Facebook was for “the kids.” And then yesterday, I came across this post from the ACRLog, the blog of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Here’s the key quote:
“These data show that while the total number of Facebook users continues to grow, the past six months has seen explosive growth in the number of users who are 55 and older: over 500%! On the flip side, the number of high school and college users has shrunk in the first half of 2009. Are new users simply declining to list their educational status, or has Facebook lost some appeal for students now that all of us “old folks” are there?”
I would imagine that the latter is the case. Why on earth would you want to hang out in the same online space that your parents/aunts/college librarians might be inhabiting?? I know a lot of libraries have tried to connect with their students on Facebook, thinking that it would be a way for students to find out what was happening at the library in a space that was familiar to them. That didn’t sound right to me, and I tried to disabuse my boss of that notion. Now it sounds like I might have been right: “On the other hand, if college students are fleeing Facebook, … perhaps it’s not the best place for us to be focusing our energies.”