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Monday, September 13, 2010

Facebook getting gray

A common excuse for not integrating social media into a company’s communications is that Facebook skews too young. The assumption is that kids text and tweet, but people 50 and older would rather talk and meet than update their status.

But things have changed. The power of Facebook has now reached into another demographic segment. According to a recent survey conducted by the PEW Research Center, social networking use among adults 50 and older has doubled over the past year.

Nearly half (47%) of Internet users ages 50-64 and more than a quarter (26%) of users age 65 and older use social networking sites, growth rates of 88% and 100% respectively. The survey also shows that social networking sites have become a large part of older adults’ daily Internet habits – 20% of adults ages 50-64 and 13% of adults age 65 and older log on to social networking sites on a typical day.

PEW researchers believe that older adults are attracted to social media because it bridges generational gaps and provides a connection to family and friends who live far away. Social networking sites have also become popular places for professional networking, continuing education, and political participation. It is also a resource for sharing information about health issues, much like people would do via traditional conversations.

Social networking sites have rapidly become one of the easiest and most beneficial ways for a business to create and maintain relationships with its key audiences. The new research builds on the already high level of use among people in their 30s and 40s. As these users age, they continue their connection to Facebook and social media. For businesses and others who need to reach people 50 and over, it’s time to make sure you have a social media component within your overall communication strategy.

If you need help navigating this premier communications platform, let us know.