I find myself on the other side of that equation, wondering "Why would I bother joining Facebook?" Fast Company recently discussed Facebook's growth, noting that "60 percent of the site's users are not in college networks, and the fastest-growing demographic is 25 and over." I had to laugh a bit at the broad swath covered by this statistic. Age 25 is a relatively recent college grad who is probably experiencing social networking as part of their peer experience.
As for those of use who are over age 30...well, let's say that no matter how wired we are, we did not exactly make a seamless transition from a yearbook to Facebook.
Facebook may have opened the gates to all adults, but that doesn't mean we are going to stampede in. You can explore very little of the site without actually joining, and the site tour is completely uninspiring, so where is the motivation for people like me to take the time to investigate it further? The company itself doesn't seem to have put much energy into addressing the question, "Why Facebook?"
I can't imagine putting in the time to develop a profile and network, because I have enough friends already in real life, and I don't even have time and energy to keep up with them. Would Facebook allow us to strengthen those bonds?
One of my most tech-savvy friends thinks so. Sheryl Grant is the co-host of The Mojo Mom Podcast and as of this year, she's a library and information sciences grad student. She's exploring social networks and Second Life as part of her graduate studies.
She recently tantalized me with the statement, "I've been treating Facebook as something that young college students do, and not taking it very seriously, but I got on there last night and realized that it's quite possible this could be even more useful to moms than cell phones and iPods. I'd love to get your thoughts on it as a management tool for socially maxed out moms."
We're going to get together so that she can show me what she means. I am interested to see if her expertise can overcome my failure of imagination to show me why Facebook would be useful to busy parents...and not just to snoop on their kids.
Consider this the "before" snapshot in my Facebook makeover. I'll report back at the end of next week with the results of my exploration.