Who Uses Social Networking Sites? You Might Be Surprised

Older adults are using social media sites despite the myth that they are offline. The Pew Research Center recently published these internet usage statistics by age. These statistics may surprise you. According to their research, 34% of adults over 65 years of age now use social networking sites. This is a dramatic rise from just 1% in 2006. Computer usage in schools led to high internet and social networking use among younger adults. It is less startling to see the highest social networking usage is for those between 18-29 years of age. As you can see from the Pew Research Center graph below, the social media adoption rate among older age groups is must steeper than for younger users.

Social networking usage by age group 2005 – 20012. Graph courtesy Pew Research Center

For businesses, these statistics are valuable for knowing how best to reach your target audience. Few of us have the time or energy to actively participate on every social networking site. We are more effective with our time by selecting social media sites which are most likely to reach our desired audience. For instance, there are almost twice as many men (63%) using LinkedIn as there are women (37%). Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board social networking site only two years old and already almost one fifth (19%) of women have accounts.

Can your business ignore Facebook? The Pew Research Center says that 92% of adults use Facebook. With 100 million members, can you afford to miss out on the opportunity to reach so many people?

What is luring older adults to the internet and social networking? The wish to connect with others. Grandparents want to see real-time photos and get updates on their grandchildren. We can share experiences with friends and family whether they are across town or on the other side of the globe. In a typical day, I interact online with friends in Japan, England, Hawaii, Florida, Texas, California and beyond.

Click on comments and let us know which social networking sites you find are best for your business.

About April M. Williams

April M. William of Cyberlife Tutors, a social media coach, speaker and author of Algonquin. She creates, implements and teaches business social media strategies in McHenry County. Connect with me on Google. Email April.

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