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Why Your Grandpa Is on Facebook [STATS]
Jolie O’Dell June 15, 2010
“Old people” on Facebook: They couldn’t beat it, so they joined it.
But why? And how did they hear about social media in the first place? They can’t all be simply stalking their younger relatives, can they?
A new study from the AARP — formerly known by the longer moniker “the American Association of Retired Persons” — shows that baby boomers in the 50-years-old-or-better age bracket are cool with the Internet (), down with Facebook, hip to the iPad and not just using the web to spy on their kids and grandkids.
The AARP spent some time last month interviewing 1,360 adults over the phone. The Association found that more than a quarter (27%) of Americans age 50 and older use social networks. Facebook is the most popular — in fact, 23% of all survey respondents said they preferred it to sites such as MySpace (), LinkedIn () and Twitter. Another study earlier this year from eMarketer showed that boomers and seniors were flocking to Facebook, again showing a strong preference for this site over Twitter and MySpace — all of this in spite of the fact that older Americans are hearing an awful lot of bad news about Facebook.
When it comes to general web surfing, 49% of respondents between the ages of 50 and 64 and 40% of all adults age 50 and older said they consider themselves extremely or very comfortable using the Internet. In other words, we’re very close to seeing the majority of senior citizens embracing the web as a content medium and communication tool.
As for discovery of social services, however, it seems the young folks are to blame for spreading word of Facebook to more venerable generations. Around 47% of AARP’s respondents had heard of social networking from a family member other than their spouse, and of those, 70% were tipped off by a child or grandchild.
The overwhelming majority of these boomers are using the social web — at least to some degree — to keep in touch with family members. Almost three quarters of AARP’s survey group said they’re connected online to relatives other than children and grandchildren, 62% are connected to their children and 36% are connected to grandchildren, as well.
And don’t forget, many of these older Americans probably have the loot to spend on high-tech gadgets, if they so choose. Of the 1,360 respondents, 83% knew about the iPad, and 11-14% said they planned to purchase one. Two percent said they’d already bought an iPad.
If you’re in the age-50-and-older crowd, do you use the social web, and why? Is keeping in touch with family an important part of your online routine?
Original link: http://mashable.com/2010/06/15/aarp-baby-boomer-study/