Internet users in the Philippines, specially the younger generations, usually follow the trends set by their US cousins (yeah, a lot of Filipinos are related somehow to a US citizen haha). When Facebook caught on, Filipinos immediately got on board as soon as Facebook dropped their .edu email requirements. Now, Facebook is the most popular online service in the Philippines — heck, with some Filipinos even knowing it as THE internet, which is ridiculous! How can you blame them when main stream media don’t correct it, when the government does not know how to use the internet and instead rely on Facebook, when schools, colleges and universities, officially/unofficially use Facebook as their online presence because it is free to use and free to access (thanks to Facebook’s hold on the Philippine carriers, Smart and Globe), and when companies use Facebook as their customer relationship management service (yeah, you rarely can get support without being forced to use Facebook and/or Facebook Messenger!). This will change soon. The sooner these institutions realize it, the sooner they can control and manage its effects.
Yes, Juan and Juana, Facebook is dying — at least for US teens, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this trend has started in the Philippines, too. Check out this recently published research from Pew Research.
Facebook’s users are aging. Yes, it is where you find grandparents, aunts and uncles, and parents converge to share what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to reminisce their good old days, and, of course, to talk about their grandchildren, nieces, nephews and kids! It is also where the same bunch of people share and re-share disinformation and misinformation, I kid, of course, but then again, there may be some truth to this, too! The younger generation always want to be as far away as possible from the previous generations — this is simply the way it is, I think.
Anyway, Facebook’s numbers in the Philippines may not reflect the same trend as the Pew Research report, or may not even show any signs of similarities. Why might that be? IMHO, this is due to the older generation forcing the younger generation to be on Facebook! As I have mentioned above, the government, corporations, schools, colleges and universities force Filipinos to be on Facebook. Some of my students would rather not use Facebook, but don’t have a choice because teachers/professors/instructors force them to be on it or miss out on announcements! Yeah, there definitely is something wrong here, but the university stays mum on this even if it knows that using Facebook puts the students’ online privacy at risk (do they even care?)! Sad, isn’t it?
Social media companies come and go (remember Friendster and MySpace?), but your official online presence, your website, remains. Facebook is going the way of Friendster. Now is the time to revisit your online presence strategy before it is too late.