While Facebook may have half a billion users, there's a good chance you've had some experience with someone from an older generation dismissing it as something for the young. While there are plenty of older people using the service, middle aged is a demographic Facebook would like to get more engaged with its offerings.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg appeared on NBC Nightly News last night, talking a little about Facebook use among middle aged and older people. She suggests that the older you are, the more useful Facebook can be to you.
"I think Facebook is actually more valuable as you get older," she told Tom Brokaw. "You think about, as you get older, you've interacted with more people, maybe you've lived in more places, you've had more jobs, maybe you have kids and grand kids. There are just more people to keep in touch with."
Brokaw, who's been around for more than a few years says he's not on Facebook because he's at a stage in his life where he wants more privacy, not less. She points out that you can build a barrier around yourself on Facebook. She also notes that she's been pointed out as the middle aged person at the company in meetings, when discussing the demographic.
Facebook is steadily getting more useful for all ages as more features are added and more third-party apps are built on Facebook's Platform, not to mention the integration Facebook has managed to achieve around the better part of the web itself.
While some (old and young) feel that Facebook is not the direction the web should be going in, it's clearly the direction the web is going in, at least for the time being.
Now that Facebook is looking to become the universal inbox for all kinds of digital communication, there's a great chance that non-users will feel increasingly more inclined to join. There will always be the die hard non-users that simply just won't cave, but some of those on the fringe may just give in.
Wait until Facebook becomes a standard form of payment on and offline. There's nothing juvenile about that.
What started as "The Facebook" for select college campuses has quickly evolved (and continues to evolve) into the Facebook of the web, and even increasingly the Facebook of life. This may seem like an exaggeration, but we're already seeing more and more Facebook connections to the physical world, and with consumers carrying Facebook around with them in their pockets (via mobile devices) at all times, it stands to reason that this phenomenon will only increase. Facebook Places is still in its infancy mind you.
This may sound like the ramblings of a Facebook fanboy, but that's not what this is about. It's just what's happening. Facebook will never be for EVERYONE, but its user base is already substantially bigger than the entire population of the U.S.