Survey Says: Older Americans Use Social Networks and the Internet

grandchild and granparents on computerSurprised? We’re not, but Reuters seemed to be.

A recent web article on an AARP-commissioned survey reported, “Social networking isn’t only for the under 40s.” It continued with a couple of findings from the June 2010 phone survey of 1,863 adults ages 50 and older: more than one-fourth of surveyed adults reported using social media sites such as Facebook (by far the most popular), Twitter and MySpace, and almost half of adults ages 50 to 64 – the Boomers in the sample – say they are “Internet savvy.”

The surprise for us is that even larger percentages of the 50+ crowd aren’t represented in social networks and online. When you think about the emergence of the Internet in the early to mid 1990s then its coming of age later in the decade and in the early 2000s, consider the decision makers who put technology into corporate budgets, the managers who arranged training for the staff (perhaps even led the training themselves), and the people who implemented the new technologies in their daily work.

Most of these people were in their 30s, 40s and 50s at the time. And how old are they now? Many of them are in their 50s and 60s and (gasp!) maybe even approaching 70. The Internet was a daily part of their lives in the workplace. It still is for many – the oldest of the boomers reached retirement age only in the last couple of years.

The mRELEVANCE take on this: no one age group has the monopoly on social media. You CAN reach out to older adults online. And chances are, many of them will find you.

Note: The AARP also surveyed a focused group of Hispanics over the age of 50. They are represented less online and in social networks than the general population. For complete details, read the full AARP Social Media Survey.