Has Facebook evolved beyond its student audience?

When Facebook first arrived in the UK in 2005, users needed to have an ac.uk email address in order to join. It was a site dedicated to students, and no one else was allowed entry.

Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, there is wild and frequent speculation that the intended age bracket of 18 to 24 year olds find the social network outdated, boring and awash with meddling parents. Various surveys have stated this to be true, including one from the University of Princeton. This used the rapid depletion in searches for the Facebook brand name since 2012 to establish that by 2017 the number of users will have decreased by 80 percent.

Facebook responded with its own research, stating that based on this method of data collection, Princeton would have no students by 2021 and the world would have run out of air by 2060.

Social media – survival of the innovative

The flaw in the Princeton survey was that it failed to take into account that the number of smartphone users had increased since 2012, therefore enabling users to access their Facebook accounts via the app rather than using a browser. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of users had in fact increased by 22 per cent, while by 1st January 2014, 20 million Facebook apps had been downloaded.

So what is the key to Facebook’s continued survival when so many of its competitors have failed? MySpace, Bebo, and MSN have all bitten the dust since the arrival of Facebook, but the social media giant has stuck around, even dwarfing those that have come after it, including Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. The site has built in new features such as the Like button, the timeline and constant tweaks to its newsfeed algorithms to ensure that users only see high-quality content from the friends who interest them.

It is also investing in other areas of social networking, including the acquisition of photo-sharing site Instagram in April 2012 and mobile messaging service Whatsapp in February 2014. The latest purchase broke records for the company, which spent $19bn (£11.4bn) on its purchase, a move largely thought to be due to the lack of success of its own messaging service, as well as its first major move into the mobile market.

Will Facebook power on?

Those of us who have, over the years, removed ourselves from Facebook and selected the “I would like return one day in the far-flung future” option know that staving off the social network is too much to bear, and we will eventually return.

Facebook feeds on human curiosity; in a recent status, the site’s communication manager Ian MacKenzie summarised why Facebook would continue to allure users:

“Today people have shared the birth of their first child, wedding, hooked up, broke up, mourned, outed themselves, said something dumb, said something profound, confessed that life’s got too hard for them, been brought back from the brink by a friend, or a stranger, found a job, posted something that lost them their job, learned a fact that will save their life one day, found their new favourite song, and hit ‘like’ on a cat picture – all on Facebook.”

The students of 2014

Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat – or can’t get enough of all four – you will be able to communicate with friends and family around the world whenever your heart desires in our student accommodation. All of our flats, studios and apartments come complete with high-speed 20Mb broadband and WiFi included in your weekly package.

If you are heading off to university in September 2014 and have yet to decide where you will be living, take a look at our range of premium student accommodation throughout the UK. If you would like to speak to one of our team about arranging a visit to any of our residences, please contact us at info@thestudenthousingcompany.com for more information.

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