Last month the Pew Research Center published a report noting that fully two-thirds of American adults are logging onto social networking sites. Incredibly, 90% of young adults (18-29) are using social media today! Pew also noted that the percentage of older adults on social media (age 65 and older) has tripled since they began tracking social media usage back in 2005.
While usage among young adults started to leveled off as early as 2010, since then there has been a surge in usership among those 65 and older. In 2005, 2% of seniors used social media, compared with 35% today. – Pew Research Center report on Social Media, Oct. 8, 2015
Why Is Social Media Gaining In Popularity?
The reasons for this increase in social media usage aren’t well spelled out today, but in a previous report Pew noted the following factors figuring into the popularity of social media among older adults. Here were 3 of the top factors:
- To reconnect with people from their past.
- Seek out support groups and/or information for the chronic diseases they face.
- To bridge generational gaps and foster connections with family and friends.
Are There Risks?
Experts say there are risks associate with the popularity of social media too. Last year the Wall Street Journal published a post noting the benefits and the risks associated with the social media craze today. They generally agreed with the aforementioned benefits of “intergenerational connections” and support found in social media circles, but they also discussed how addictive the social media scene can be.
Social media can take considerable time away from more productive things—and that applies to people on both sides of the communication. It’s intoxicating and addictive. It doesn’t matter where you go. People have that phone out at sports events, restaurants, shopping, walking, on dates, at the dinner table at home, in bed, and, unfortunately, also while driving. -Bud Hebeler, WSJ, 12/23/14
I think there’s more to gain than there is to risk (all things considered). As with everything, moderation is the key to healthy social media engagement. With that in mind, LIKE us on Facebook to continue the conversation, or leave us a note below in the comments section… We promise not to keep you long!