Teenagers and young adults expressed indignation when Mom and Dad invaded Facebook. Now, a new demographic is friending the family–Grandma and Grandpa. A study released last week by Pew Internet reveals a dramatic increase among older Americans in the last year.
According to the survey:
-“Between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
-During the same period, use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.”
While those over 50 still favor e-mail, they increasing use social media to keep in touch with family and friends.
This shouldn't come as a surprise. As the Baby Boomers retire, they have both computer know-how and time on their hands. Facebook gives them an opportunity to see what the kids and grandkids are up to and to easily network with old friends and coworkers.
As people age, their mobility may be impaired, so participating in life online provides a convenient social outlet–a virtual way to find folks with similar interests. For those living with chronic ailments, there's an opportunity to join support groups.
Even for seniors who are technologically challenged, technology presents creative solutions. Check out this story of an 80-year-old who uses a fax machine to tweet with her kids.
An interesting aside is that Facebook lets advertisers target various age groups. But guess which group you can't target? Ten points if you said people over 64. Given the 100% growth rate in this affluent demographic, I bet Facebook will be reevaluating that oversight (discrimination?) soon.