Since its 2004 creation in a Harvard dormitory by the infamous Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook has exploded into the center of consumer culture, serving as the primary form of communication for one in every 13 individuals world-wide. With 1 million users by the end of 2004, the world-renowned site now boasts a total of over 900 million users as of March 2012. With its ever-present, signature “like” button and its constantly updating format, it seems no other form of social media can trump Zuckerburg’s brilliant brainchild. Yet some beg to differ. Citing reasons from computer issues to growing privacy concerns, resisters to the world’s largest social networking tool pose a serious threat to the site’s expansion.
The largest gap in usership is found in the estimated three-quarters of seniors who do not use Facebook, contrasting the 450,000 who are 35 and under who do, or just about half of its active members. Falling right in the middle is 41 year-old Jake Edelstein, a New York pharmaceutical consultant who believes Facebook promotes the lack of true personal connection which is slowing slipping from society’s grasp. In an age where people prefer to check their notifications while on vacation rather than sight-see, Edelstein comments, “I prefer to keep my communications personal and targeted…you’re getting a message that’s written for you. Clearly someone took the time to sit down to do it.”
Also in this distinct assortment of non-users is Neil Robinson, 54, a Washington based government lawyer and Facebook holdout who says he’s feeling the pressure to jump the bandwagon. Robinson explains how he feels it takes much more effort to stay in touch with friends and relatives without Facebook. He recalls when his nephew’s son was born, pictures were posted to Facebook immediately, forcing him to wait for someone to email him photos. After years of holding out, Robinson admits he’s finally planning to join next month, as he doesn’t want to lose touch with his younger relatives who rely on the site for most of their communication.
Over 50 percent of Facebook’s current 900 million users regularly check their accounts, but for the millions of daily log-ins there are also millions of hold outs. Two out of every five American adults do not have Facebook accounts, assuring that they are satisfied with their lives as is and refuse to contribute to the rapidly growing statistics. Despite its prestigious following, Facebook’s resisters can be doing more damage than anticipated. The company’s marketing strategies continue to grow, and with over 20 million applications installed per day and over 250 million users accessing Facebook via over 200 million websites, shares are expected to rise, making an estimated value worth even more than Disney. In order to deliver to this ever-rising bar, the Facebook team first needs to address this problem and convince some of its resisters to join. Only time will tell if this challenge will be met.
Edited by Juliana Kenny