When you think of social media, the tendency is to think of young people. The stereotypical image is of millennials with their eyes perpetually glued to their smartphones or other devices. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Just a cursory glance at almost any popular social media site shows people of all ages use these platforms regularly, and in all different ways. In fact, did you know that the most likely people to share content on Facebook these days are baby boomers? Here’s a look at how people over fifty are using social media today.
Social Media Trends among Baby Boomers
In today’s world, the older generation is anything but tech-phobic. They spend, on average, two hours more per week online than millennials. They represent a smaller percentage of smartphone owners, but of those who do have them, around 44%, use them daily to access the internet, e-mail, and of course, social media.
When it comes to social media, Facebook is by far the most popular platform among people over 50. In 2014, a study revealed that around 70% of baby boomers had Facebook accounts and around 40% were active users. This is slightly lower than among millennials and Generation X, but not by much.
More importantly, as we mentioned earlier, baby boomers tend to share more on social media than the younger generations. They’re also the most likely to share political content, while millennials tend more towards memes.
Boomers Take a Wait-and-See Attitude
The reason it seems to many that the older generation is largely comprised of technophobes is because most baby boomers don’t automatically rush out and purchase the latest device or sign up for the newest social platform as soon as it’s released. Instead, they’d rather wait and see if it’s going to be around awhile, or if it’s just some flash in the pan fad.
That’s why Facebook is becoming more popular for people over fifty. It’s been around for over a decade and has proven its usefulness for letting boomers keep in contact with their social circles, even when separated by great distances.
On the other hand, platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are less popular among baby boomers. In part this is because they’re newer and haven’t yet withstood the test of time. Another likely reason is because they’re largely connected with smartphones and tablets, which also aren’t as popular with the over-fifty set.
These mobile devices are also relatively new in the grand scheme of things, not to mention expensive. Therefore, many members of the older generation are refraining from getting one for themselves unless they know they will have a real use for them. Perhaps in the next few years, we’ll see a surge of smartphone use among baby boomers, and a similar rise in their use of the social media platforms that rely more heavily on mobile use.
When it comes to both millennials and baby boomers, there are plenty of stereotypes that simply aren’t true. The older generation isn’t a bunch of technophobes who shun anything new and unfamiliar, and younger people aren’t a group of glassy-eyed zombies who do nothing but stare at their phones all day and eschew meaningful social interaction. Rather, we all use technology in the way that best benefits us and our lifestyles. How are you using social media to get the most out of your own life?