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Surge in Social Media Usage From Over 65s

Someone drop an old testament beat. Social media is often regarded as the refuge of the young, but much like video games and mobile phones before it, the older generation are coming, and they mean business. New findings by the Pew Research Center have revealed that, since 2010, the percentage of over 65s on social media has risen from 11% to 35% in America. That's an average increase of just under 5% per year and if you turn the clock back 10 years only 2% of over 65s were on social media. That's a 9% increase across one 5 year period, followed by a 24% increase. The gain in momentum is easy to see.

Pew Research Center
Usage among 50-64 year-olds has also risen significantly, from around 30% up to 50%. Figures for the younger generation are also still on the rise, but at a far slower rate. The question is, why are there so many more older users all of a sudden? A big factor in it is news. Social media is fast eclipsing TV for the fastest, most reliable form of news source there is and no matter how old people get, they never lose their desire to stay up to date with current events. Useful information also plays into it, as social media can be an excellent conduit for advice, be it medical, financial or whatever else.

Of course, those are just catalysts, the biggest factor in this kind of rapid expansion is the domino effect. Sadly, as people age, remaining connected to friends and relatives often becomes more difficult, so the knowledge that many of these people are on social media is going to act as an incentive to do the same. Similarly, the report reveals that the amount of people in rural areas has also risen, now up to 58%.

Things like mapping family history, sharing old photos and other nostalgic activity are heavily supported by platforms like Facebook, and I often see some of the older people on my news feed engaging in it. Streamlining the ways in which people stay up to date, combined with the increase ease of actually interfacing with the most popular platforms has hugely increased their universal appeal, and I'd argue that social media is, if anything, more beneficial for the older generation than almost anyone else.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Surge in Social Media Usage From Over 65s Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 09, 2015 Rating: 5

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