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Pew Study: Boomers flock to social networks

28 August 2010 7 Comments
Irene Ryan
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Perhaps Trix still are for kids, but a new study shows that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are no longer the domain of the younger generation; baby boomers are enthusiastically embracing online networking tools.

The report, Older Adults and Social Media, is from the Pew Research Centre and is based on a survey of 2,252 American adults, age 18 and older. It concludes that social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled over the past year—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010. In addition the survey the found:

  • social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47%.
  • use among those ages 65 and older grew 100%–from 13% to 26%.
  • By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by only 13%—from 76% to 86%.

Of course, youngsters remain the heaviest users of social media; but boomers could actually take over if the level of take up among this demographic group remains steady.

The data showed that older adults still prefer email for communication, but increasingly they are using social network platforms for their day-to-day contact with friends.

And, the use of Twitter has also grown—particularly among those ages 50-64. One in 10 internet users ages 50 and older now say they use Twitter or a similar service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.

It’s food for thought when setting communications and marketing strategies for those targeting boomers and senior citizens.

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