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For teens, Facebook is 'dead and buried'

So apparently Facebook isn't merely slipping a little in the eyes of youth. It's a corpse. It's "embarrassing." At least that's what a new study says.

Is that parroting dead?
Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We come here not to praise it, but to bury it.

This seemed to be the attitude of teen respondents in a study that probed their deeper feelings about society's most important subject: Facebook.

This study was part of a larger piece of research funded by the European Union. It revealed that there was an increasing disunion between teens and the now slightly wrinkly social network.

In a blog post that reads as less of a lament than a tortured eulogy, Daniel Miller, professor of Material Culture at University College, London used these words: "What we've learned from working with 16-18 year olds in the UK is that Facebook is not just on the slide, it is basically dead and buried."

What could be the problem? Could this be an example similar to research earlier this year that described Facebook as "old" in the eyes of the fresh-faced and feckless?

The word professor Miller used to encapsulate these teens' feelings was "embarrassed." Yes, it appears that Facebook has reached the level of sheer shame.

The psychology has changed. Where once it would be teens rushing to Facebook to chat with their friends about school and nudity, now it's parents who insist that the kids are on the site, so that everyone can chat together as a happy family.

I have personally seen evidence of this sort of behavior. Families are using Facebook as a sort of dinner table substitute. Why, I only recently espied one no-doubt upstanding gentleman discussing quite publicly when he and his brief encounter might have children.

"Oh, when we do, they'll have her looks, of course," ran the insanely inane declaration.

How unsurprising that teens look at this sort of stuff and think "Eewww. Can't you do that somewhere else?"

Indeed, this migration away from such public chatter might be evidence of a peculiar emotional maturation among the hormonally scattered.

Their embrace of Snapchat might show that they don't want to dedicate every word spoken to posterity, but instead see so many moments in life as ephemeral and not worth further study or justification.

For some time, it's been suggested that teens are using different apps for different purposes: Twitter is for public broadcast -- or at least for a mass text that will immediately get noticed. WhatsApp is for those whom you feel a little closer.

Instagram -- owned by Facebook, of course -- is for telling your tale through pictures, thereby obviating the effort of spelling correctly.

I can feel confident, though, in declaring which app will be the one that will be truly, insanely embraced by teens in a way that none has been embraced before.

It's the one that hasn't come out yet, the one that a group of pimply youths are currently working on (and will fall out over). It'll be called something like Hot Gossip.

Once this one captures their imagination, it will be the go-to app for, oh, at least a year or two.

Then rinse and repeat.