Well, Dah: “Older” Adults’ Social Networking Use is UP

In the category of  “Dah” or maybe even “I told you that you could do this stuff,” I am happy to read Pew Internet’s survey findings published in it’s  “Older Adults and Social Media”  report, released earlier today.

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Man with ComputerFirst, though… I’m officially hating the “older adult” tag, thinking “baby boomer” was at least  a more creative moniker, even if stereotypically insulting.

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I am once again claiming only to be Generation PC, particularly since I barely qualify for either of the others.

No Surprise Social Media Stats

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The stats don’t surprise because I live the uptick in interest. My peers are on Linkedin. My friends are on Facebook. I tweet and read my friends tweets. Sign-ups for my social networking workshops are up, and so are questions about the platforms, both for business and personal use.

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All many of these “older generation” needed was to understand “why” they should log on — what would they do there? Was it worth their time?

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Unlike my teens who are more likely to log on to something — anything — new first, click-click-click around and then ask — if they ever take the time to consider — why are they there, again?

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Of course, it helps that we’re also gaining in online confidence, too. That comes, like all things, with experience.

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Now that we’re “getting” how to use the various platforms, more of us are ready to dive in and really test the platforms’ uses — for both business and personal use. So — dah — many of us are increasingly engaged in online social networking activities.

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Enter Pew’s survey results.

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Pew Internet Report - Older Adults & Social Media Still it is nice to see the proof and know it’ll help some of us still on the fence, dive in, and let the “younger generation” know that they are not destined to own all-things social networking:

  • Social networking site use for 50+ year olds — up from 22% to 42% in  the last year (April 2009 to May 2010).
  • 47% of internet users 50-64 years of age use social networking sites  like Facebook & Linkedin.
  • 25% of internet users 65+ use social networking sites like Facebook & Linkedin.
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The big story is in the growth itself, something I think we’ll see even more of as adults 50+ years old gain increasing social networking use confidence, both in terms of how to navigate evolving platforms like Facebook and Linkedin as well as manage privacy concerns through aggressive use of settings.

  • 88% growth in social networking engagement for 50-64 year olds (April 2009 – May 2010)
  • 100% growth in social networking engagement for 65+

It will help that there also seems to be an uptick in available on-site training options — Facebook  and Linkedin classes. Not everyone is a webinar warrior. For some, it works better to have teacher and student in the same room.

As for future growth in the older generation social media and social networking use, I personally believe that there’s a lot more to go to reach potential. You can quote me. I’ll even take the odd bet on it.

But no – I don’t have commanding stats to prove it yet.

What I know is that  “older adults” aren’t stupid. And we have decades of proof that, while some are skeptics in our crowd, we are adaptable to new realities.

Meanwhile, the rest of us who are already logged on will keep trying to figure the best way to use these different sites — fun, business, education, communication across generations.

Or more likely — all of the above.

Some of us will also be trying to offer training to help the others along quicker.

After all, I’ve said it once… so I’ll say it again. These social media tools are just new communication tools. Like the rapifax once was.

Have no fear — we can, and will, not only log on but use these new tools well. Until, that is, even better ones come along.

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