Social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled from 22 percent in April 2009 to 42 percent in May 2010, according to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Social networking use among Internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88 percent over the past year, from 25 percent in April 2009 to 47 percent in May of 2010. During the same period, use among those 65 and older grew 100 percent from 13 to 26 percent. By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13 percent from 76 percent to 86 percent.
“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
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.”
The use of social platforms like Twitter has also grown among those ages 50-64. One in ten Internet users 50 and older now say they user Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.
Other highlights from the report 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 50-64make Twitter a part of their routine, up from the 1% who did so in 2009.
*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.
“Social media has the potential to bridge generational gaps. There are few other spaces—online or offline—where tweens, teens, sandwich generation members, grandparents, friends and neighbors regularly intersect and communicate across the same network,” said Madden.