One hallmark of exceedingly good technology tools is the ability to gain mass appeal well beyond their initial target market. Facebook may have been started to help colleges connect, but now it’s also a place for parents and grandparents as well.
In fact, the fastest increasing demographic on Facebook is women aged 55 and over. Every month over 1.5 million women in this demographic are active on the service.
This isn’t the only rapidly increasing demographic that you may not expect to find on Facebook. In the last six months, the service saw 7 million users aged 35-44 signed up for a Facebook account.
The rapidly increasing age of the average Facebook user isn’t always welcomed by their children and grandchildren however. Bumper Stickers on the site bearing the slogans like, “Just say NO to Moms on Facebook,” occasionally pepper the profiles of younger members.
This increased visibility into their children’s lives can sometimes have unintended consequences for the young and adventurous. One teenager discovered comments from his mother on pictures from a wild party informing him that he was grounded.
However, isn’t this the kind of involvement and insight into their children’s lives that helps keep kids out of trouble? Kids might block their parents from viewing their pictures, but their friend from down the block might not remember to.
The goal of this movement isn’t to create a gestapo culture where parents stalk their kids on Facebook, itching to punish them. This is a new way for parents to get more involved in their children’s lives.
Sure kids are more likely to be secretive with their parents and grandparents poring over their Facebook feeds. However the level of visibility and communication that parents can have with their kids is unlike anything of previous generations.
And besides, many professionals and active grandparents are using Facebook to connect with old friends and classmates just like everyone else. If that encourages less MySpace-esque photos and comments, I’m all for it.