According to FastCompany, Facebook has 600 million users, a quarter of them in the USA. Nathan Lustig on Entruset looked at the numbers and wrote a rather morbid post on how many Facebook users he thinks will die this year by extrapolating Facebook user age data and death rates for each age group.
What caught my attention was the fact that out of the estimated 150 million American Facebook users, only 6.3 million users are over 64 but that this is one of the fastest growing age groups on Facebook, even faster than the 25-54 group! All this growth has been taking place as Facebook has done nothing to encourage this older group to join and use. In fact, with its pace of innovation and new changes, I’d imagine Facebook is targeting users in their teens (with over 100% penetration!) and 20s.
I think that Facebook could be friendlier towards this older group. They (I’m generalizing) joined Facebook to stay in touch with either kids or grand kids and ended up discovering that many of their friends are already connected. Are there too many privacy options for this group to manage? Will they understand the rapid change of their news feed? Can groups be easier to set up? Are games and other applications easy to understand? How hard is it to remove a company/product/TV show from their feed after they “liked” it? How easy is it to find their friends and family, even if their name is Jennifer Smith?
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that Facebook needs to dumb down its site or remove features once you’ve entered your age but it would be great if the “basics” were easier to navigate and use.