The Not-So-Young Networkers.

Posted by truecreek on May 29, 2009 under More Dam News, Research | Be the First to Comment

Another article by Mark Dolliver.  Essentially the same thing happened during the adoption of the internet.  It took a while, but eventually the greatest amount of growth in use was coming from the older population.  In some cases, much older.

Most growth at social networking sites comes from users 30 and older.

By Mark Dolliver

NEW YORK Though social networking still skews young, the practice has been gaining ground among Americans who are on the wrong side of age 30.

Indeed, while noting that use of such Internet sites remains most common among the young, a report on the subject by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press says that “nearly all of the recent growth in social networking has come among older people.”

The report, analyzing survey data gathered at the end of March and through much of April, shows 43 percent of 30-39-year-olds saying they use social-networking sites — about twice the proportion (21 percent) who said so in a December 2007 survey. The increase has been proportionally even steeper among 40-49-year-olds (from 11 percent then to 29 percent now) and 50-64-year-olds (from 6 percent to 16 percent). The current figure is highest, at 70 percent, among the 18-29-year-olds. But that’s nearly unchanged from the December 2007 poll, when 67 percent of respondents in that age bracket said they use such sites.

If you think the older folks join a social site and then seldom revisit it, think again. When people who use the sites were asked how often they check in on them, the 18-29-year-olds had the highest proportion (at 23 percent) saying they do so several times a day. But the number of respondents saying they do this was quite sizable among the 30-49s (15 percent), the 40-49s (16 percent) and those 50-plus (14 percent). When you combine the several-times-a-day tallies with those saying they check in on the sites “about once a day,” the gap between the 18-29s (48 percent fall into those two categories) and the 30-39s (41 percent) isn’t terribly wide. (The equivalent figure for social networking’s 40-49s is 36 percent, and it’s 34 percent for those 50 and older.)

The same survey inquired into respondents’ attitudes about the wisdom of sharing personal information online. The poll’s wired respondents split almost evenly between the 43 percent saying it’s “a good thing” and the 44 percent saying it’s “a bad thing” that the Internet “makes it possible for people to share pictures and personal things about themselves with others.”

Men were significantly more likely than women to say it’s a good thing (49 percent vs. 37 percent). And, as you’d expect, younger respondents were more apt than their elders to hold that opinion. The “good thing” vote was 62 percent among the 18-29s, 48 percent among the 30-49s, 35 percent among the 50-64s and 19 percent among those 65-plus.

Though 67 percent of the poll’s social-networking-site users came down on the “good thing” side of the debate, 23 percent said they regard such info-sharing as a bad thing.

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