Here's a paradox. Just when some social media early adopters are starting to leave Facebook, the mainstream majority (approaching 500 million of them) seem to be more hooked on the world's favourite social network than ever.
I've discovered a problem with Facebook dependency amongst first year students. They were tasked with creating, publicising and evaluating a charity event – with varied results. Facebook groups were universally created – and were relied on to disastrous effect.
One group were confident of their event's success because scores of people had indicated their commitment on Facebook. Did they show up on the day? Did they heck. The team resorted to old-fashioned word of mouth to salvage their scheme. While Facebook's success is based on its recreation of the real world of friendship online, the process doesn't work so well in the other direction.
It's easy to get people to click but where's the commitment in this? Where's the engagement? Barring a few posters, the old-fashioned means of publicising an event were missing: personal invitations, stunts, media publicity, even celebrity endorsement.
It appears the real world is an increasingly confusing place for Generation F students.