Old People Finally Getting Hip to Social Networks

A new study by Pew Internet suggests that more old people than ever are using social networks. Now, before the nethers of some of Techi’s most well-aged readers get all puckered, I’m defining ‘old’ as 50 and up. Come on now, that’s fair. You’re old. Deal.

Last year, it was approximated that only 22 percent of internet users over the age of 50 were using social networks to stay in touch. (Frankly, us in the twentysomething demographic didn’t mind that at all – those who have their grandparents on Facebook know what I’m talking about – but you didn’t hear that from me). But fast forward 13 months, and that usage has nearly doubled to 42% – an impressively high figure, that would seem to debunk some of the modern myths of technophobia amongst the elder community. That’s an 88% increase. That’s hardcore.

By comparison, usage amongst users in the 18-29 demographic has grown only 13% in the past year, but that’s not to call us hip youngsters unhip – chances are, it’s just due to saturation. 86% of us are using social networks already.

“Email is still the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues,” says Mary Madden, the author of the report, “but many older users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications.” Makes sense. If these people want to keep up with their families, we’re all preferring to share information on Facebook and Twitter now, anyway. Email isn’t dead, but it isn’t doing too well, either.

Not to sound patronizing, but I’m kind of stoked for this data. When old people are on board, you know that something is becoming truly a natural part of life. Social networks are just part of the ambient fabric, now. A subtle flavour. Like when you put celery into soup.

Facebook is like celery.

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.
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Comments
  • http://www.vickieflores.com vickie

    Very positive findings, as it’s so easy to forget but easy to assume everyone is online these days and they’re just not.
    Good news for local websites to be able to reach more of the community, as there’s been quite a divide up to now.

  • Frank Taylor

    My mom uses Facebook more than I do. Never imaged that would happen, even though I am not that heavy of a FB user. Social networking is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family.