Facebook: The Ugly Girl at the Dance?

What’s happening to Facebook? And when did it become the prom queen that woke up one morning with a giant, runaway zit?

Everybody’s social media darling — still every bit as stunning and formidable with 900 million mostly immensely dedicated users — seems to be taking a beating lately.

The Facebook IPO debacle was the first big blemish on her forehead. That was when everyone from your Aunt Mabel to the kid dishing your fries suddenly entered the world of public trading, all with little idea as to how the whole thing worked other than knowing that they really, really liked Facebook. And mind you, this was only days before General Motors decided to pull its paid ads off of Facebook due to lack of effectiveness.

The next blotch erupted right square on her nose, and perhaps is even more difficult to escape: A story in today’s Los Angeles Times referenced Facebook as a novelty that’s fading and not capturing the attention of some young people (read: those just now turning 13 and being green-lit by Facebook to legally join the ranks of mainstream social media).

As the TimesJessica Guynn and Ryan Faughnder wrote, these youngsters are, “Checking out new mobile apps, hanging out on Tumblr and Twitter, and sending plain-old text messages from their phones.”

Plain-old text messages? How archaic.

The story went on to state that Facebook’s “botched IPO has heightened concerns about its business, particularly its undeveloped mobile strategy, as teen use of smartphones and tablets explodes.”

Surely this is a scenario Facebook has pondered. Fads come and go. Times change. Vinyl turns into MP3s and MySpace turns into a punch line. But what does Facebook’s possibly dwindling popularity mean to businesses today that sink thousands and thousands annually into it? A long, hard look at diversification is a start.

DGWB Digital Director Chris Diede maintains that from an advertising perspective, reliance on any one particular medium is dangerous. “It’s important to pay attention to the certain social media pockets that affect relationships with our clients’ customer base the most, and put our capital there accordingly.”

Facebook is trending toward the older demographic more than ever. For businesses, that’s fine — the older demographic has more money to spend. But with Facebook playing such a large part of commerce every day, what would a rapid demise among younger users trigger? It’s probably best to not wait and find out.

We may all be better off just following the footsteps of some of those wise 13-year-olds.

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