To me the most amazing thing is that only 1 in 4 of the over 65 age group are using social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Personally I thought this would be higher, although the figures indicate an increase of 50% last year, so I expect this figure to be much higher in the next few years. This will naturally happen as more and more of the current generation move into this age group. This younger group are more adept at using social media in their everyday lives, so the figure for the over 65’s will continue to rise.
9 out of 10 under 35’s are using social media and in the 55 to 64 year old category 1 in 2 are using it, thus we can see the overall trend . The number of under 35’s using social media has plateaued and this is unlikely to increase. I suspect that by this point in people’s lives, if they are not interested in social media they are unlikely to be swayed into ever using it.
So what are the favorites with the over 65’s? Undoubtedly it is Facebook as they are using this to keep in touch with family and friends, primarily to view photos and updates. This figure is likely to be driven by the very dynamic nature of today’s families, which are becoming more geographically spread out and thus necessitating this type of communication platform. This just adds to the age old phone call to loved ones.
What will be interesting is that currently only 1 in 5 of the over 65’s are regularly uploading content. This is the figure that will show how the older generation are adapting to social media over the next few years.
I know from personal experience that getting the over 65’s to use Facebook can be difficult, but having forced my parents into using it on the premise that this way they can see what the grandchildren are up to. They are now actively, and happily using it, and let us not forget that this is the generation that grew up with the majority of their lives with no internet!
This is showing businesses the growing power of social networks and how best to target your audience. It is still very much a growing marketplace and worth considering if your product or service is targeting the older sector of society.
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Office of National Statistics