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AARP has released new research into the social networking/social media and technology use of Baby Boomers and 65+ seniors.  The upshot:  Americans over 50 are definitely not technophobic.  And, social networking is on the rise, with 27% of Boomers/seniors using social media websites.  Consistent with older consumers’ desires for connections offline, the report finds that they are most often connected to – and most often motivated to join social networks by – their family.

Highlights from AARP’s Social Media Research

* 47% of Boomers and seniors originally heard about social networking from a family member other than their spouse. 

* 70 percent of 50+ers first heard about social media from a child or grandchild.

* 24% of Boomers and seniors who are active in social networks were introduced to it by friends.

* Women were more likely than men to be introduced by family members (60% to 29%).

* Among adults 50+ who use social media websites, 73 percent are connected to relatives other than children and grandchildren.  62% are connected to their children.  36 percent are connected to grandchildren.

* Facebook was most popular among AARP’s respondents – 23% of their 50+ social networkers used this site.  LinkedIn was #3, with 4% and Twitter clocked in at #4, with 3% of respondents using or visiting the microblogging service.  Interestingly (and most likely driven by grandchildren) 4% had MySpace accounts.

We note that 73% of the 1360 older adults contacted reported they do not use social networks at all.

For tips and more insights about social media marketing and Boomers and seniors, here are some related articles:

The Age of Social Networks? Mature
From Social Media Socialites to the Socially Awkward (why one size doesn’t fit all for marketing)
– Untangling the Web: Social Media and Boomer, Senior Homebuyers
Marketing to Gen X and Baby boomers via LinkedIn
The Face(book) in the Mirror is Getting Older


About The Author

Erin Read

For nearly 13 years, Erin Read spearheaded integrated and digital marketing programs for Creating Results' clients. She directed and co-authored four national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish and three editions of Social, Silver Surfers) and served as the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters. Now a consultant to the agency, Erin is leveraging her expertise in marketing to baby boomers and seniors while tackling new challenges. Find her on LinkedIn .