There has been a good deal of news over the past few days about the Pew Research Center’s findings that teens are not abandoning Facebook as some had thought. The common belief was that with the rise in social media giants like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, Facebook was becoming less relevant to teens, and consisted primarily of older users.

It appears, however, that this is not the case. As sources like The New York Times have covered, the statistics are quite clear: 71% of teens still use the site, even if they have diversified their social media use.

The question is: why? Why does Facebook stay relevant in an age of competitors and alternatives, when we’ve seen so many social networks go the way of the dodo? Facebook’s adaptability and deep connection with users have allowed it to grow and evolve with new social media, minimizing direct competitors and encouraging integration with other platforms.

A large reason why there hasn’t been a migration from Facebook: a migration implies a destination. While there are social media options that cover parts of Facebook’s functionality, there’s no dominant new, cooler replacement. There is nothing to send it the way of MySpace.

But why? Why haven’t we seen a competitor? Partly because of its ubiquity, but also because of its massive effort to curb and absorb competitors. Facebook became such a giant that anything else risked being crushed, and avoided the sort of stagnation that allowed the site to overtake MySpace to begin with. As a result, many up-and-coming apps didn’t even try to take on the behemoth, and instead popped up as accessories or add-ons, possibly even designed for the sole purpose of being acquired.

Facebook is still grounded in its web application, making it the go-to for teens when they spend time on their actual “traditional” computers. And because it is not mobile-first (though it is becoming increasingly mobile-friendly), it allows for much deeper functionality, which has helped to shape it into a broader tool than those caught up in the somewhat single-minded trend of social media. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like are built for smartphones, and generally focus on doing one function well. They are content-production driven (take a picture, post a picture; write a tweet, post a tweet), while Facebook is becoming more of a social media aggregator on top of its own platform, providing a central hub for social media. The newsfeed isn’t just pictures and statuses – it’s got everything from Instagram photos to Buzzfeed links.

Facebook is the “stock” model of social media, from which the others become a part. Applications such as Instagram are integrated with the platform, and plenty of others depend on the website for login credentials, even if they don’t show up on your newsfeed. This is in itself a significant anchor for Facebook users: the website stores pictures, information, friends- information that other apps depend on. Few teens would want to partition their social media, especially pictures, or have to fill in their information to every app they download. There’s no huge compelling reason for teens to get rid of Facebook (barring privacy concerns, which go largely ignored), and doing so would make it harder for them to use Facebook-dependent applications. So nobody stops using it, while the next crop of teens start using it.

But teens’ relationship with Facebook goes deeper than that. It’s the standard, familiar social media site they’ve been using since they got their hands on a computer. It holds information about their lives from years before; even if they look back and cringe occasionally (okay, often), they still don’t want to lose the pictures, statuses, and moments from their youth. In fact, it was these teens who helped make Facebook what it has become. At this point, the site is so ubiquitous that it can be seen as weird not to have it – if you meet a new friend or love interest and they ask to look you up on Facebook, not having a profile can be seen as strange or even “suspicious.”

A lot of the doomsday predictions for Facebook have relied on a few key issues with the site, namely the fact that they’re seeing a lot of content they don’t like, and the large influx of older users. Even The Social Network, the movie about Facebook’s roots felt it necessary to touch upon the fact that the website’s success is tied to how “cool” it is…and old people are decidedly not cool (sorry!). But Facebook has implemented tools that address some of the frustrating parts of the site, like the rise of over-sharing and older users. For example, being able to “unfollow” someone without unfriending them has been a useful tool for those who want to reduce the number of statuses spouting sappy song lyrics or the thousandth baby picture. And, of course, there are still Facebook Groups, so teens can spend most of their time on the site dedicated to smaller, more tightknit circles of friends. It’s far from perfect, but it doesn’t have to be.

Facebook certainly has its flaws, and it will require some major overhauls if it wants to be as exciting as some of the new applications that have come onto the scene over the past few years. But even without that spark, it provides a homepage for users’ social lives and the foundation for their media usage. There’s only so much that pages and a newsfeed can provide, but the original intent of the website is now just a small part of a much bigger project, as Facebook acquires new companies, researches new technologies, and continues to expand. Is Facebook dying? The Facebook of 2011, maybe. But the company itself is still very much alive and kicking, and will continue to be a staple in teens lives for years to come.