Use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter by Web users ages 50 and older almost doubled from a year ago, according to Pew Research. Many seniors use social sites to reconnect with people from their past and for medical issue support.
Spurred by the promise of reconnecting with people from the past and medical
issue support, use of social network Websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and
Twitter by Web users ages 50 and older almost doubled from a year ago.
Pew Research said some 42 percent of 2,252 Internet users 50 and older
networking fessed up to using social networking Websites compared with just 22
percent of the same demographic in April 2009.
Pew said that between April 2009 and May 2010, social networking use among
Web users ages 50 to 64 grew from 25 percent to 47 percent, or 88 percent.
People ages 65 and older grew from 13 percent to 26 percent.
Some 20 percent of online adults ages 50 to 64 said they use social
networking sites on an average day, up from 10 percent one year ago.
Thirteen percent of adults ages 65 and older log on to social networking
sites on a typical day, compared with just 4 percent who did so in 2009.
One in 10 Internet users ages 50 and older owned up to using Twitter or
another status update service. Some 6 percent of online adults ages 50 to 64
make Twitter a part of their daily routine compared with 1 percent who did so
At the other end of the spectrum, Facebook and LinkedIn use among users ages
18 to 29-the so-called Millennial Generation-grew from 76 percent to 86
percent, or only 13 percent.
Clearly, social Websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are slower
to catch on among the more senior generations of Internet users.
Mary Madden, a Pew senior research specialist and author of the report,
noted that despite the uptick in social network use among more senior users,
most still use e-mail to connect with friends, families and colleagues.
Perhaps a more salient question would be how many of these more senior users
did not use the Internet until social networks sites such as Facebook and
Twitter became prominent.
Have Facebook and Twitter drawn more people to use the Web who wouldn't have
before because they didn't find e-mail useful or important enough?
Pew didn't ask that question, but it did determine that social media use is
more prevalent among older users who have high-speed broadband connections in
their homes. More than half of broadband users ages 50 to 64 use social
What is drawing older Internet users to the Web? It's not Justin Bieber or
Madden said 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
Also, older adults suffering from a chronic disease are reaching out for
Readers can download the full Pew report here