Owning It

There was a report issued by Piper Jaffray which is the latest iteration of an on-going study on teens.

Piper Jaffray

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In it was a nugget about how teens are (or aren’t) using Facebook.  As reported in The Washington Post:

Between fall 2014 and spring 2014, when Piper Jaffray last conducted this survey, Facebook use among teenagers aged 13 to 19 plummeted from 72 percent to 45 percent. In other words, less than half of the teenagers surveyed said “yes” when asked if they use Facebook.

For those of us who work in other businesses, this issue isn’t really so much about where teens are spending their time.  The problem isn’t confined to Facebook either.  Facebook, like Google, Reddit, and many other social/news sites, don’t generate the bulk of the content that populate their sites.  Users do, so when a chunk of the user base vanishes so too does the content that chunk generates.  Could the site replace it?  Maybe, but it wouldn’t be in an authentic voice nor reflect the topics that are on the mind of the intended audience.

I’m always wary about a business that is so dependent upon that model.  Traditional media creates (or buys) content itself.  There is a different issue there (is anyone paying attention to what they’re producing) but the base product is unaffected regardless of usage.  One can argue that Facebook is just a tech platform but if their business model is selling ads (and it is) then they are a media company.  Google produces none of the content is serves.  Search results are just reflective of what’s out there.  If the content becomes unavailable, either through “no index” tags or otherwise, what does that do to the quality of the search results?  How is usage affected?

Sound businesses are built with as few “uncontrollable” elements as possible.  If your model is built on the output of others and those sources dry up, does your business do so as well?  I say we need to own the product stream as much as possible.  What say you?

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