Social Media Is Closing the Age Gap
Image by Diego Lorenzo F. Jose on Flickr, who includes this description:
Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?
My dad just turned 60 and is newly retired. I got him an Ipod Touch to play with 🙂
Diego’s father isn’t alone in his newfound tech habits.
A new study from The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that older Americans (age 50+) are adopting social media in growing numbers. Among the report’s findings:
- Social networking use among internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled—from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.
- One in five (20%) online adults ages 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago.
- One in ten internet users aged 50+ now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.
Increased social media use among a wider demographic is obviously a good thing. But it also creates additional questions for any company that uses these tools to communicate with its customers.
- Are you actively engaging customers of all ages on your social networks?
- Does your messaging change depending on your intended demographic?
- Is your website — or your Facebook fan page — intuitive for all ages?
- Does your social media strategy include a mature perspective?
And while these may seem like new challenges, this isn’t a new conversation.
Ten years ago, the exact same spike in general web adoption among seniors and baby boomers had marketers scrambling to connect with this “new, non-traditional” audience. And sites like ThirdAge have been providing baby boomers with topical insights for over a decade.
Thus far, social media has been considered a youth movement. With this growing number of mature voices and viewpoints, the gender gap is being closed — and this is a welcome opportunity for brands to reconnect with an audience they may not have expected to be paying such close attention.