Old-Timers and Social Media | Bleader

Friday, August 27, 2010

Old-Timers and Social Media

Posted By on 08.27.10 at 10:18 AM

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The base numbers are much smaller, but the acceleration is much greater. In the past year, "Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled — from 22% to 42%," the Pew Research Center reported Friday. Close to half — 47% — of online adults 50 to 64 do social networking, likewise 26% of those 65 and older. And they do it a lot.

Pew has some ideas why. First, "Social networking users are much more likely to reconnect with people from their past, and these renewed connections can provide a powerful support network when people near retirement or embark on a new career." Or, to put it another way, older people have much more past and a much more pungent curiosity about all the people in it.

Pew adds that older adults with chronic diseases are discovering the value of social media in connecting with discussion and support groups. "And finally," says Pew, "social media bridges generational gaps" — and there's very little else that does.

The Pew study, "Older Adults and Social Media," was prepared as part of its ongoing Pew Internet & American Life Project. Here's a link to the entire study.

To get back to those base numbers... Pew tells us online adults 18 to 29 using social media climbed from 76 percent in 2009 to 86 percent in 2010 — an impressive jump in its own right. In the meantime, at the far end of the scale the number of online adults 65 or older using social media doubled from 13 to 26 percent.

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