If you have seen the recent hit movie “The Social Network,” you know that the original Facebook was a network exclusively for college students. In fact, Ivy League college students were the first to join the network that now has over half a billion users. The initial wave of preppy college kids might have once been the majority, but they aren’t the only people who have become Facebook addicts. Today, people from all walks of life are online ranging from junior high-schoolers complaining about homework to an elderly gentleman writing philosophical musings about his long life. Your mom, dad, aunt and yes, even grandma and grandpa are now friending, liking, tweeting and tumbling.
These “Silver Surfers” as they are now coined, are doing much more than just Googling pie recipes and filling prescriptions. A study done by Nielson found that 50% of these old-timers are doing complex things like sharing photos and videos. They were also discovered planning trips, managing their finances and inquiring about healthcare. According to a recent survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project 47% of internet users ages 50-64 and one-in-four (26%) users ages 65 and older now use social networking sites. A year ago facebook was was ranked the 45th most popular activity partaken by seniors, at the present time, it is ranked 3rd. These senior citizens are all over the web, and are now accessing all kinds of information at high speed.
These golden-agers are so advanced that their retirement and assisted living facilities have started building computer labs and offering instructional courses. Access to affordable or accessible technology is no longer the barrier for surfing the web. With easy-to-use netbooks, 3G iPads and simple training, grandma and grandma can now easily Skype, check-in and connect with family and friends across the world. All of this activity by the social security crowd online proves that social media isn’t just for teens and toddlers anymore, and that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks!