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January 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm 7 comments

Having recently viewed the popular highly regarded film, The Social Network, it got me thinking about my use of computer technology and how much I personally depend on social networking to stay in touch with friends and family.  I remember when the Internet was still referred to as the Information Superhighway and dial-up modems were the only way to travel there.  Technology has zipped along since then, but the manner in which the majority of Baby Boomers use the Internet remains pretty much the same.  Boomers go online to use e-mail, shop, and do research. An AARP survey shows that 40% of those 50 years old or older consider themselves either extremely or very comfortable using the Internet.

Despite the growing number of Boomers online, only 27% use social networking sites.  Social networking is the next iteration of the Internet.  Instead of static webpages, websites are interactive so users can comment in real-time with each other, putting the “social” in social networking.

It’s true that the number of Baby Boomers using social networks is increasing. CBS News recently ran a story on the growing number of Baby Boomers now using social media.  According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, social networking on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn is up 88% among those aged 50-64.  Use of Twitter alone is up 120% in the same age group.

If you haven’t joined the social networking bandwagon yet, here’s a quick low-down on the most well-known social media sites and what their focus is:

Myspace (130 million users): The first social networking site to take off in a big way.  Since losing the social networking crown to Facebook, they have revamped the site to focus on music and target younger users.

Facebook (500 million users): The current top of the heap in social networking. Most people use it to keep in touch with friends and family.

LinkedIn (80 million users): Popular for professionals, it’s more about resumes and networking than reuniting with your prom date from high school.

Twitter (175 million users): Say what you want in 140 characters or less. Users follow people (from celebrities to politicians to your grandkids) with short updates known as “tweets.”

Looking to connect more with other Boomers?  There are a couple of social networking sites geared directly to you.  Eons (listed in our Blogroll and LINKS section to the right) is a social networking site that launched in 2005 by the man who created the job hunting website Monster.com.  You can join different communities based on personal interests such as gardening or travel, play games, and share photos.  AARP also features social networking on its website for the 50+ crowd with its AARP Online Community.

If you want to read further about how to get the most out of social networking, the Torrance Public Library has books to get you started :

 
Do you use social networking sites?  Have strong feelings about their positive and negative aspects?  Still not ready to jump in yet?  Leave us a comment and tell us what you think!

–mz

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‘Tis the Season to be Reading Get On Your Feet…Get Up and Make it Happen!

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ted  |  January 26, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Thanks for posting, great to see a new blog from you. I only got on Facebook for the Scrabble, but now I’m trapped there.

    Reply
  • 2. top universities in the uk  |  February 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting post! I find that there is so much to take in on the web that it’s just information overload!

    Many thanks.

    Reply
  • 3. Janez  |  April 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Interesting post to see in numbers on those big social web sites! Thanks!

    Reply
  • 4. Issy K  |  May 18, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks a great article. In a recent campaign where my company advertised for a fitness device, it was staggering the responses that it received from facebook. Further I imagine with regards to education and distance learning, social networking sites and twitter will take distance learning a step further in the right direction towards creating a more intereactive learning environment.

    Reply
  • 5. mick e.  |  September 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

    It’s interesting how social things come and go like myspace. I dont know anyone using that anymore. Before facebook, it was the thing. I wonder which one will become passe next?

    Reply
  • 6. Teri Peterson  |  November 23, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Today, it’s not a mystery why Facebook is the leading social networking site. Still, 500 million is a bit shocking..

    Reply
  • 7. Best  |  January 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Now I’m train my mother to use Computer. And now she also like social network. I thinks social network useful to everybody.

    Reply

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