Without totally giving away my age, let's just say I'm old enough to have asked for one of the later Beatles albums
present at the time of its release. (While you digest that fact, you should know I was an early bloomer in growing a music collection.) Thus, with my advancing age in mind, I've been conducting an
unscientific demographic experiment over the last year or so concerning my Facebook account.
It centered on the following question: When would my suburban mom contemporaries, and the people
I knew from college and high school who don't write a social media column, begin to populate the site? The answer is now.
First, a little background on my experiment. I hold true
Facebook adaption to a high standard. Thus, though I've long had two people I knew in high school as Facebook friends, I always considered them demographic outliers. One currently works at
TBWA/Chiat/Day, and the other works in interactive at Ogilvy. I've also never counted people I've known in the past whose only Facebook friends are their kids. Clearly, that's not using
Facebook as a social media device but as a way to keep track of teenagers. Facebook as baby monitor.
But recently, I've noticed a few people I knew in high school and college using
Facebook for real, to -- just as the Facebook home page says -- "connect and share with the people" in their lives. Since I haven't yet friended many of them, I don't know much about
how deep their usage goes. Are they updating their status every four minutes? Are they sharing links? Are they posting photos? Probably not in great volume. In this late-adapter crowd, I've
surmised that having a dozen Facebook friends is average. Having two dozen is noteworthy. My back-of-the-envelope calculation says that 15% of my college and high school classmates use Facebook.
Expect that to grow over the next year, as my data shows that the vast majority of primarily white, college-educated people who grew up in the Northeast are not on Facebook.
harder to get a handle on what is going on with my fellow suburban moms, since, in a search, we get lumped in with everyone in the entire town who is on Facebook. Though I've heard tales of women
who live near me using Facebook, my list of 256 friends (mostly people who read this column) includes only one mom from my town, and she's the wife of a fellow MediaPost columnist. Not exactly
sign of a breakthrough.
Maybe the Facebook use of my contemporaries strikes some of you as anemic. But I have a different view. I first signed onto Facebook about two-and-a-half years ago
when I was doing a story about these newfangled social media sites. I remember being placed in the Westchester, N.Y. group and then trolling the site, for what seemed like hours, looking for people
from my area who were my age. After seeing page after page of teenagers and college students, I began to feel like a soccer mom on the make.
After I signed up, the first
people to find me were others involved with digital media. That first wave was followed by the readers of this column, and more recently, by other people who I've known in my years as a reporter.
Now, the next wave is starting to crest.