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Facebook Vs. Twitter: Will the Older Demographic Keep FB in the Green?


In this post from the Buzz & Banter, a look at Facebook's increasing unpopularity with kids, and why Twitter doesn't appeal to some adults.

This article was originally posted on the Buzz & Banter where subscribers can follow over 30 professional traders as they share their ideas in real time. Want access to the Buzz plus unlimited market commentary? Click here to learn more about MVPRO+.

Buzz and Banter contributor John Gustafson shared his thoughts on Facebook and Twitter today with Todd Harrison. Below is his message.

Good morning, Todd,

Reading your post this morning [MV PRO article], it reminded me that once again, you and I seem to think of the markets in the same fashion. We don't necessarily come to the same conclusions, but we're cooking with the same ingredients. My stuff has more of a political bend, bringing in the societal mood as reflected in that acrimonious pit. I called it "the malaise" in a note to my clients several years ago (2010ish): a toxic condition driven by the absolute, diametrically-opposed political forces, both here and across the globe, that don't allow even those who are doing relatively well to "feel" that way. A condition that I think still exists.

Why does this make me think of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)? Because they seem to generally reflect that mood generationally. One does so in its own little sphere. On Facebook, you have to agree to "friend" someone, which makes it generally a more positive place, especially if you are a person who prefers to look for the silver linings, rather than gathering storms -- that is, who you "friend." Let's face it. Facebook is made for faraway friends and for families to keep an eye on their kids as they grow. Twitter, however, provides a much better "pulse" of the world as you describe, and you and I also seem to have the same evening habit of scanning the globe via Twitter. (Although, my timeline likely has a lot more Formula 1 and other petrol-head items on it than yours.)

From an investment standpoint, I know that Facebook gets knocked because "kids" don't like it anymore, but my counter is that the old people with actual money, who are likely to limit themselves to one social-media channel once they learn how to use it, do like it. Also, I am curious to see how the incredible negativity that springs forth immediately on Twitter when a missed attempt at humor or when innocent comments land in front of the wrong person will affect longer-term adoption and usage. I think some of the cool interactivity that used to exist on Twitter -- with athletes, actors, and others you'd never connect with on Facebook and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) -- has been wrung out of the system by the trolls.

I had an exchange with a hyper-sensitive moron a couple of weeks ago after a silly, clearly facetious comment on a post by someone I follow. (I don't even remember who.) I used to just ignore them, but now I'm tired of it, and I point my flamethrower right back at them. A waste of time and energy that certainly takes away from my likelihood of commenting in the future, which is the entire point of the medium, but I feel somewhat obligated to not allow ridiculous, overly-sensitive attacks to stand. This person represented a statistically insignificant population of 1, but I couldn't haven't felt that different from a lot of older Gen-X-ers. It just seems that Twitter is made for discourse, and that is no longer allowed in our society. There is no more thoughtful argument, only one-sided screaming.

That said, I do own shares of both, simply because I do think that similar to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which folks always doubted, there is power in being "first mover" in a true sense with scale and that the bright folks at the top have a chance to figure it out.

We shall see... Thanks as always for your thoughts. Enjoy your week.

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Positions in FB and TWTR
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