Older people adopt social networking

Picture of the Twitter logoStereotypes are starting to crumble as it's been reported that the fastest-growing group of social network members fall into the over-50 bracket. You might remember very recently there were reports that older people were coming to the Internet so this isn't a surprise.
Research company Nielsen found that Facebook use was increasing for the over-50s and that this was even more pronounced for Twitter, where the change has been accompanied by younger people appearing to abandon the network.

Lies, damned lies, statistics


The amount of women aged 65 or over has risen 96% in the last month, which will give you some idea of the scale of change we're talking about.

Or will it? First it's worth remembering figures published recently which suggested Facebook was losing loads of members. Facebook denied this. The conclusion is that someone is fibbing but we don't know who.

The second issue lies with the use of percentages in the first place. Let's say Twitter had 6m members, 100 of whom were female and over 65. If, in the following month, another 96 similarly-aged women had joined, it would be perfectly correct to state that female pensionable members had increased 96%, but they'd still be a minuscule minority.

There's no reason to suspect a neutral organisation - and these figures were commissioned by the UK Online Measurement Company - would massage any of these figures or would benefit if it did. If it says the proportion of older people on Twitter and Facebook is increasing then there's every reason to believe it is - and every reason for advertisers to be very pleased because people who're still working but whose kids have left home have much better spending power than younger types.

I'd just take the exact proportions with a dash of cynicism until someone produces hard figures.
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