Teens annoyed by Facebook changes considering Google Plus?

By Sharon Machlis

A youth-oriented marketing agency says that "savvy and fickle" young people are "overwhelmingly ... seriously considering spending less time on Facebook as a direct result of the recent changes" to the site.

According to a survey of 2,000 teens ages 14 to 17, 25% plan to use Facebook less and Google+ more, "with 10% saying they would drop Facebook completely," says a Mr Youth blog post at grownupthinking.com:

"Among teens that are already using Google+, they rave about the platform as being cleaner and 'more social' than Facebook. Lack of knowledge about Google+ seems to be the biggest barrier to entry among teens who express interest in staying loyal to Facebook. Also, teens have opted for staying with Facebook over Google+ because the majority of their friends are already on it."

Another 47% said they expect to maintain their level of usage; 4% expected to increase time on Facebook following the changes.

Bad news for Facebook and good news for Google? I'd take this one with a fairly large grain of salt, mostly because people who say they're annoyed by a company and plan to take their business elsewhere don't always follow through. (I, for example, have lost count of the number of times I've vowed not to watch the New York Giants anymore after various egregious losses...), Such sentiments can often reflect temporary feelings that fade, or simply a desire to get a message across since someone asked for an opinion.

"While teens are currently in an uproar about the changes on Facebook, the vast majority will likely stay onboard, getting used to the new experience," the blog post notes.

There's also the issue that Mr Youth's sample came from their own Crowdtap platform, where people agree to engage with marketers (ie divulge opinions and demographic information) in exchange for various rewards. Such teens may not represent a truly random sample of social-media users.

The fact that teens who tried Google+ were generally positive about it is certainly some good news for that new social media platform. I just wouldn't bank on a mass exodus of teens from Facebook anytime soon.

See more from the Data Avenger series.

Sharon Machlis is online managing editor at Computerworld. Her e-mail address is smachlis@computerworld.com. You can follow her on Twitter  @sharon000, on Facebook, on Google+ or by subscribing to her RSS feeds:
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