A Time magazine article by Lev Grossman covers a top 10 list of why Facebook is for the older generation. Some poignant but funny key points are:
1. Facebook is about finding people you’ve lost track of.
One of the best aspects of social media is the ease of getting back in touch with old high school friends. Sending someone a friend request is far less nerve-wracking than meeting again in person and saying hi. Talking to family in different states or even different countries is also a great feature of sites like Facebook.
4. Facebook isn’t just a social network; it’s a business network.
While LinkedIn is clearly the social network for professionals, Facebook can also be used as a business network. There are ways to make business pages now, and Facebook has improved advertising and sharing features in recent months.
7. We have children.
Many users ages 30+ have children and even grandchildren. Users 65+, the hearing aid demographic, have an entire network of family members on Facebook who tell them about stories they read or ads for products they saw that could be helpful.
9. We don’t understand Twitter.
This particular point has probably changed in the last 3 years, but Grossman was right at the time. No one knew how best to use Twitter when it was a new service, and most people still don’t know. Businesses are just starting to figure out how Twitter can help build a community and update customers.
10. We’re not cool, and we don’t care.
Grossman says there was a time when it was cool to be on Facebook but that time has passed. One common aspect of all successful social networks is that a core group of younger, “cool” users find it first and use it so much that it eventually grows and grows until their parents are using it and it’s no longer cool. Unfortunately, once advertisers jump on the bandwagon the buzz is killed a little faster as well. Grossman said “Facebook now has 150 million members, and its fastest-growing demographic is 30 and up.” (Grossman’s article was first published in 2009 so the numbers have significantly changed.)
“‘Everybody’ includes Ireland’s five kids and her 83-year-old mother, who has a Facebook profile she accesses daily, Ireland said.”
According to industry reports, older generations have taken to Facebook and Twitter faster than any other age group in recent years. In February 2009 Facebook celebrated its 5 year anniversary. Only a little over 3 years later and the shift from teenagers and college students to middle-age parents and senior citizens has been dramatic.
Image credit: Michael 1952
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