Seniors and Baby Boomers may not be classified as early technology adopters but research is showing that they’re catching up quickly. A new report from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010. The research shows that between April 2009 and May 2010:
- 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 13%—from 76% to 86%.
Use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have seen sizable growth over the past 12 months. The study shows that 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. Other statistics include:
- Just 5% of users ages 50‐64 had used Twitter or another status update service in 2009, and 11% now say they use these tools.
- On a typical day, 6% of online adults ages 50‐64 make Twitter a part of their routine, up from the 1% who did so in 2009.
- One in five (20%) online adults ages 50‐64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago
- Among adults ages 65 and older, 13% log on to social networking sites on a typical day, compared with just 4% who did so in 2009
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 for the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project 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.”