It's a well-known fact that young people love social media. Love might not be a strong enough word - maybe "depends on" or "require" would better describe the way my generation sees services like Twitter and Facebook.
Many studies have found an addictive quality to social media the cause teens to exhibit emotional withdrawal. As part of a well-publicized study, one teen who found himself separated from social media said that he "began to feel distress and despair." Despair? Geez.
According to new information from the Pew Internet Project, young people are not the only ones who are finding the allure of social media too compelling to ignore.
Pew surveyed 2,277 adults over the course of one month and found that 65% of all adult internet users say they use a social networking site. Last year, that number was 61% in the same type of survey.
Social media usage among those aged 30 and younger didn't really budge. One year ago, 60% said they are on a site like Facebook or Myspace. This year, 61% made the same claim. No, it wasn't the young generation that made the move - it was the boomers.
Among users aged 50 to 64, social media use has grown from 20% to 32%. That's a 60% increase over the last year. It looks like your father or your grandpa has found their way to The Twitter.
Although more of this older generation (I apologize for the title, they aren't "old," I guess) is logging on to social networking sites, that doesn't necessarily mean they are checking them everyday like the younger generation does.
"The graying of social networking sites continues, but the oldest users are still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” said Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist and co-author of the report. “While seniors are testing the waters, many Baby Boomers are beginning to make a trip to the social media pool part of their daily routine."
Another interesting finding from the survey: Young women are truly the queens of social media. 89% of females aged 18 to 29 report that they use social media sites. 69% say they check them every day.
As part of the survey, Pew also asked respondents to say what they thought about social media. And as a result, this word cloud was born:
Interesting to see the prominence of the words "good" "fun" and "convenient" and the relative irrelevance of the sentiments "annoying," "intrusive" and "confusing."