Social networking (SN) is for those young people, right?
Well, recent research shows that older American adults are enthused and embracing new networking tools.
Here's the facts from the recent Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project:
o SN use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.
o During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
o By comparison, SN use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.
o One in five (20%) online adults ages 50-64 say they use SN sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago.
o Among adults ages 65 and older, 13% log on to SN sites on a typical day, compared with just 4% who did so in 2009.
Use of status update services like Twitter has also grown—particularly among those ages 50-64. One in ten internet users ages 50 and older now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.
“Young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, but their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users,” explains Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and author of the report. “Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications.”
What is SN use catching on among older adults? Pew attributes it to:
o Old connections, new support networks– SN users are much more likely to reconnect with people from their past, and renewed connections offer a powerful support network when people near retirement or embark on a new career. Can you say community?
o Coping with health and welfare issues — older adults are more likely to be dealing with and living with chronic disease, and are more likely to reach out for support online. Content, content, content?
o Bridging the generation gap — while results can be messy, and social networks pool together users from very different parts of people's lives and provide the opportunity to share skills, ideas, memories, etc. Connections across the divide?
Pew also reports that various organizations that work with older adults such as AARP, Older Adults Technology Services and Project Goal are actively promoting social media resources that are relevant and valuable to mature users.
I'm thinking, golf companies might pay attention to this because the aging part of its market is online more and more.
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