Social Networking Among Older Adults Nearly Doubles : MarketingProfs

Though young adults remain the heaviest users of social networking sites, older users are fueling much of the growth: 42% of online adults age 50+ now use social networking sites, nearly twice as many as the 22% who did so a year earlier, according to a study by Pew Research.

Looking to connect with friends and family, older adults are now the fastest-growing demographic among social networking users: 47% of surveyed online adults age 50-64 say they use social networking sites, up 88% from the 25% who did so in April 2009. That trend is even more dramatic among the oldest online adults: 26% of those age 65+ use social networking sites, up 100% from 13% a year earlier.

By contrast, 86% of online adults age 18-29 say they use social networking sites, up just 13% from the 76% who did so a year earlier.

Below, other findings from the study Older Adults and Social Media, issued by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Among older adults, email is the most common way to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues: 60% of online adults age 50-64 and 55% of those age 65+ say they exchange email on a typical day.

But many older online adults also rely on social networks to help manage their daily communications:

  • 20% of online adults age 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% who did so a year earlier.
  • 13% of those age 65+ say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 4% a year earlier.
  • 11% of online adults age 50-64 and 5% of those age 65+ say they use Twitter or another status update service to share updates about themselves, or see updates about others.

Online news gathering also ranks highly in the daily media habits of older adults: 76% of online adults age 50-64 say they read news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among those age 65+, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.

By comparison, just 22% of online banking users age 50-64 and 19% of those age 65+ say they visit those sites on a typical day.