Stillwater News Press

Our World

August 17, 2013

Is Facebook hurtling toward irrelevance?

(Continued)

"Although I do have a Facebook, none of my other friends do," Karp writes. "My friends just thought it was a waste of time." But Karp says she soon discovered that "Facebook is useless without friends," adding, "My only friend is, like, my grandma."

OK, got it. Facebook is dead to Karp because none of her friends use it. But wait - that's not the only problem with the social network. Two paragraphs later, Karp adds that Facebook is also dead because all of her parents and her parents' friends are on it. And why is that a problem? Because, Karp says, "my friends post photos that get me in trouble with those parents."

Ah yes - the old "parents are ruining Facebook" problem. But wait a minute: If none of Karp's friends are on Facebook, how do they keep managing to post such troublesome photos on the site? The contradiction is compounded when Karp goes on to lament that "Facebook is also a big source of bullying in middle school." Kids might "comment something mean on a photo of you," she adds, "or message you mean things. This isn't Facebook's fault, but again, it does happen there." How middle school bullying happens on Facebook if no middle schoolers are actually using it, Karp's post does not explain.

Yogi Berra once said of a St. Louis restaurant, "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Karp's critique of Facebook seems to amount to, "No teens go there anymore. It's too crowded with other teens."

When I asked Karp via email about the apparent contradiction, she told me the kids getting in trouble on the site are mostly older kids, while those in her age group don't use it at all. I'm not fully convinced - I suspect Karp has a lot more friends on Facebook than she realizes, given a recent Pew study that found it remains by far the most popular social network among teens, even as others are gaining some ground.

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