Growing numbers of senior citizens on Facebook, SNS

Facebook is growing all over the world but especially among American senior citizens:

Edelman is one of many senior citizens using social networking at rapidly increasing rates, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center. Social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled — from 22 percent to 42 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to the study. For Internet users older than 74, that number has quadrupled, from 4 percent to 16 percent.

Indeed, women over 55 are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, according to InsideFacebook.com, a website that tracks and analyzes user data…

According to iStrategyLabs, a Washington, D.C., social media marketing firm that tracks user data, about 10.6 percent of Facebook users are over the age of 55, a 59 percent increase from 2010…

While Twitter and Facebook users who send out status updates may tend to skew younger, with most members under 40, the average age of a LinkedIn user is 45, said Krista Canfield, a spokeswoman for the business-oriented social networking site. One trend Canfield said she sees among older LinkedIn users is a desire to retain connections with former co-workers.

Considering Facebook is just six years old and started among college students, these numbers are remarkable.

It strikes me that today’s older generations (and future older generations) will need to be more tech-savvy than previous older generations. This could have some benefits (staying connected) and some downsides (see this recent research on problems with multitasking). Just as young adulthood (“emerging adults”) is being transformed before our eyes, what it means to be a senior citizen is also rapidly changing.

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