Older Adults rapidly embracing social networking

Social networking use among U.S. internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled, from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010, according to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

During the same time frame social networking use among internet users ages 50-64 grew by 88%–from 25% to 47% and over 100%, from 13% to 26% among people aged 65 an older.

By comparison, social networking use among users ages 18-29 grew by 13%—from 76% to 86%.

“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 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.”

In addition to measuring social networking usage among older Americans, the report, which sampled over 2,300 adults, also discusses why social network is becoming more attractive to older adults.

Attractions include the ability to: more easily reconnect with people from their past; connect with other people their age living with chronic disease or suffering from similar medical ailments; more easily communicated with individuals of different generations.

Download the complete thirteen page report here. (.pdf)

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