Posted May 28, 2009 8:20 pm by with 2 comments

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red-rockerQuestion for you rock and roll historians: Do you remember Sammy Hagar (The Red Rocker prior to his days as the front man for Van Hagar Halen)? Do you remember the song that made him just famous enough to replace David Lee Roth? It was “I Can’t Drive 55”.

So what the heck does this have to do with Facebook you ask? In an article at MediaPost it appears that Facebook may be having their own trouble with the number 55. For them, however, it’s not about a speed limit but rather the shift in demographics in a direction that Facebook is not too familiar with which is down.

Earlier this year, women over 55 were identified as the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook. Now it looks like they’re going in reverse. During April and May, the number of U.S. Facebook users over 55 actually dropped by 650,000 after increasing by 1.6 million the prior two months, according to new data from the Inside Facebook blog.

This wouldn’t be so interesting if the announcement touting the growth of this segment just in February hadn’t sounded so out of place itself. So what is the reason? The editor for the Inside Facebook blog, Justin Smith postulated

“Maybe older users are still getting acclimated to how to use Facebook’s real-time stream to share information with friends and family”

On a personal note, I have watched one person who fits this category actually come on board with Facebook in the past month. It’s my mother-in-law. As an aside, it’s for this precise reason that I don’t use my Facebook page for professional purposes. I never thought that getting a comment on my status from someone could be so touching and bone-chilling all at the same time.

Oh yea, Facebook and business. Sorry about that. The most interesting statistic about Facebook is actually not this sudden exodus of the Ensure crowd but rather the slowing of overall growth. Caution: The following statistic is one that bemoans decreased growth not a decrease in overall users. It’s one of those “Hey, that’s not enough growth!” scenarios that plaques the Internet as a whole. You’ve been warned

Facebook’s overall growth slowed in the last two months from the beginning of the year. In April and May, active U.S. Facebook users increased 4% to 60.4 million, compared to 11% to 56.1 million in February and March.

Here’s the whole picture in a pretty picture:


Hey, growth is growth. Maybe the 55 and older crowd had vivid memories of the Cold War era and couldn’t take the Russian investment news. Who knows? Should we care?

  • I think it is pretty anal to be soooooo consumed with one age group demographic dropping after only 2 months. It is somebody's job so, maybe I should be too harsh. I think it is just that time of year. The weather has improved, people want to be outdoors more and do 'real honest to goodness' salt of the earth kind of things. In the winter/colder months, yeah it is pretty easy to sit inside the house and veg out in front of the computer. I think Facebook should just wait until the end of the year and then tally up their stats and then worry about. Good Grief.

    Oh and a side note — Sammy Hagar rocked dude!!!

  • Be interested to dig deeper to find out if this is a sesonal flux of snowbirds, migration to Twitter after the Oprah stunt, or something else. Where's Paul Harvey? We need the rest of the story.