Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No Great, Great Aunt Bess You Cannot Be My Facebook Friend

When a 90-something relative tried to friend me on Facebook a few months back, I was shocked. I know a growing number of seniors are using the Internet and yes it’s a wonderful way for them to connect with and make friends from their own homes.

It’s one thing to be Facebook friends with my 16 year-old son, but letting a great, great aunt read some of the stuff my friends post. I don’t think so.

Well a new study from the Pew Internet Project shows that online communication among seniors is skyrocketing, and I’d better get used to it.  

As of April 2012, 53% of American adults aged 65 and older report using the Internet or email. For the first time half of all seniors are online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are a definite and important trend for marketers to take note of.

Here’s some additional data:

Daily Internet Use – Among adults 65 and older, 70% of them use the Internet daily, compared to 82% use by other age groups. Once you get into the mid-70s age group, the number of Internet users falls off to 34%.

Cell Phone Usage – 7 out of 10 seniors own a cell phone, up from 57% in May of 2010.

Social media – One in 3 seniors who are online use social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

Email – 86% of seniors 65 plus use email, and about 48% use it on an average day.