There are studies that suggest that older Americans, 55-plus, are less reliant on social networks than most demographic groups. This seems to fly in the face of recent reports that Facebook is rapidly expanding its 50-plus user rolls.
Baby boomers are joining the social networks, but are they being social? There are some indications that they only join for specific reasons, and they don’t participate like younger demographics. Does this mean that social networks fail the Boomer?
No, it just means that Boomers need the networks for different reasons, and they may not have been invited to the right party just yet.
This age group sees Facebook and Skype as tools and not entertainment.. And if the tool doesn’t connect them generationally and historically it is the wrong party.
Generational, in that they want connection to their parents, children and grandchildren. And historically so that they can reach out to people from their past and get “caught up”.
Penny Ireland’s family is so scattered around the world, that Facebook has become the family’s No. 1 way to communicate.
Margaret Brooks, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, joined the site because there was no other place for her to see her grandson’s artwork.
Sarah and I relate to both Penny’s and Margaret’s needs. We have raised our family, but don’t want to miss out on the great things that are happening in their lives, right now. Boomers want to be able to continue to provide support, even when distance works against their efforts. Facebook provides a place to use the social networking tools in an efficient and pointed way.
Facebook has been growing particularly rapidly amongst people over 45 in the US, with growth of over 165% amongst both men and women 45-54.
And all of these Boomers are beginning to become Seniors Citizens, reaching sixty years old. As the social networks build the tools that older Americans need, they will be inviting even more people into the party. And reaching the Boomers today, with the right social components, will deliver marketers with a well trained, well financed group of customers for many years to come.
Cynthia Edwards, posted the following in an email marketing blog; “Seniors are a rapidly growing segment in our society, and one of great potential value to marketers. According to the US Census Bureau, in the next five years alone, the population of those over 65 will increase by 40%, from 36.8 million to 51.7 million. In the U.S., that could add up to 88.5 million people over 65, comprising 20% of the population”.
Facebook does have more active users in the younger demographics, but some of the tools that are associated with this network giant are the perfect fit for the boomers and seniors of tomorrow.