"Facebook is for old people" annotated

Bob Lefsetz frequently guest-posts on financial blogger Barry Ritholtz's "Big Picture" blog.
Recurring themes are: (i) an old rock-and-roller advises other old rock-and-rollers on how to promote their bands in the social media era, and (ii) the assumption that everyone is a tablet user now.
His recent post Facebook is for Old People contains many generalities about the current technological moment. The annotations below in boldface indicate agreement, disagreement, or puzzlement:

Documenting your entire life history, building a timeline, a shrine to yourself, so that the people you grew up with will be impressed? That’s for baby boomers.

What about professional or creative activities? Aren't Tumblrs used as "mini-creative life histories" by all ages?

Want to communicate with your millennial in college? Then you’d better learn how to text, the younger generation barely e-mails. Talking on the phone? Who’d want to waste so much time!

OK but many oldsters were abandoning telephone prattle about the same time. Email is a compromise, halfway between text and phone.

For all the old bloviators bemoaning the loss of privacy online, it’s the kids who got the memo, that if they post pictures of illicit activity they might not get a job in the future. Kids believe in evanescence, oldsters believe in the permanent record. Ergo, the growth of Snapchat.

Is there any truth to this? You could be leaving a permanent record without "believing in it."

[...] There seems to be this belief that there’s stasis in the digital realm. As if Microsoft still ruled and tablets were not about to eclipse desktops.

Again, you can have the stasis resulting from a million businesses not switching away from the Microsoft/networked desktop model without asserting it's because of some geriatric "belief" in stasis.

Sure, the digital highway is littered with the carcasses of failed enterprises, whether it be MySpace or Pets.com, but to think that iTunes is forever is to have missed the memo. The main asset of iTunes? The credit card numbers. Other than that?

Uh, everyone is still using it?

As for Google… It’s been proven no one can eclipse the company in search, but is search, as we know it today, important tomorrow? Are we really gonna just type keywords into a blank field?

Signs point to yes.

[...] What is the new product of Facebook? Facebook didn’t come up with Tumblr or Pinterest, and certainly missed out on Twitter.


And isn’t it fascinating that the young ‘uns were the last to come to Twitter. The old techies and early adopters were there first.

That would be me - March '08.

But their parents still don’t understand the need for Twitter, never mind how to use it.

Not sure if I'll ever use it for lunch-planning or as a newsreader. The noise to signal ratio of everyone's timelines is pretty high and the filtering capabilities blow. It's fine for goofy creative interaction. See also

We live in a fluid society. If your result comes up on the second page of Google, it might as well not exist…hell, if it’s not one of the first two or three hits, if not the very first. Bury that information on Facebook, soon no one will see it. But those who care are exchanging real time info constantly in the new world. That’s where it’s at. And searching for profits, locked into an old paradigm, establishing contact between the distant, the lost, Facebook is missing the future. Look at it this way… Kids already knew their friends, were already in constant contact with them. It’s baby boomers who needed to catch up on the lost souls. I’m not saying Facebook is toast. I’m not saying no oldsters use Twitter.

This is an argument for valuing recency over long-tail content. Google's algorithms have been changed in the last few years to reflect this bias. There are reasons you might want a record -- there are also reasons you might want real time chat. The assumption of the above is that they need to be in the same product.

...if you want to know what a kid’s up to, going to their Facebook page will tell you very little. Hell, they’re leaving few digital crumbs for their parents… They’re devouring the cookies and leaving no trace!

Except for that job or job-hopeful resume and all those webcam photos.