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Older Adults Double Usage of Social Media

The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project (http://pewinternet.org/) shows that social media use among adults aged 50-64 has nearly doubled.  Almost 1/2 of Internet users from 50-64 and 1/4 of those over 65 are users of Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media websites.

Young adults (aged 18-29) are still the main users of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace with 86% of Internet users in this age group saying they use those sites.  However, while young adults have increased their use of those sites by 13% in the past year, adults 50-64 have increased their use by 88%, and those aged 65 and above have increased their use by 100%!

In addition, adults aged 50-64 have increased the use of Twitter or a similar product from 5% in 2009 to 11% in 2010.  Not surprisingly, email is still the primary way older adults stay connected online, with 92% of those aged 50-64 and 89% of those aged 65 and older sending or reading email on a typical day.

Based on previous research, the Pew article discusses various reasons why social media is expanding so quickly with older adults:

  • 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.
  • Older adults are more likely to be living with a chronic disease, and those living with these diseases are more likely to reach out for support online.
  • Social media bridges generational gaps and provides the opportunity to share information across generational divides.

For more information, read the full report at http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Older-Adults-and-Social-Media/Report.aspx

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