Social Media Update – More Seniors Getting Connected

Saturday, January 10, 2015
Stephanie Carneal
Schooner Strategies

While the percentage of people using social media is increasing at a rapid rate, the question is which age group is growing the fastest?

Surprisingly, the most rapid growing age group isn’t young adults and teens, but seniors. According to Pew Research Center, 73% of adults who are on the Internet are social networking users, and about 42% of them use multiple social networking sites. Even more interesting is that social media users ages 65+ has tripled from 13% in 2009 to 43% in 2013.

Although the percentage of users over age 65 is still smaller than any other age group, more seniors are using sites such as Facebook to connect with family and friends online. This trend may bring mental health benefits, as well. According to Pew, a social user is going to have stronger social ties, along with being half as likely as the average American to feel isolated.

In fact, social media has many benefits – it connects people with the world socially, financially and politically. It enables users to tighten social ties, expand business marketing, and serve as a key news resource for local, national and world events.

As the fastest-growing social media population is comprised of the silent generation (ages 65-73) and the GI generation (ages 74+), the largest total percentage of social media users remains in the millennial generation, according to Pew.

The most popular site for this age group is Facebook, followed by forums such as Twitter and Instagram, and then LinkedIn (20% of adults used the professional site in 2012).

Those aged 18-29 are still the heftiest social media users overall at 89%. This is followed by the 30-39 age group (78%), the 50-64 age group (60%), and finally those 65+ (43%). Clearly, social media usage will continue to increase rapidly as technology becomes a more essential part of our world.

Stephanie Carneal, an intern at Schooner Strategies, attends the University of Mary Washington.