Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baby Boomers Take Over Facebook

Mitch Joel, one of North America's leading digital visionaries, recently wrote a blog exploring who uses Facebook. Joel reported that there are more baby boomers than high school students using this social media application.

Joel states in his blog (Six Pixels of Separation) that baby boomers " Are taking to the Web, engaging, joining the conversation and taking part in many online communities." Many are surprised by this statement. Many believe that this generation is "technologically challenged" and would be the last to use Facebook.

Despite popular belief the number of baby boomers (aged 55 and older) has skyrocketed in the past six months from less than a million users to nearly six million. At the same time the number of college and high school students using Facebook has declined an average of 17.5 per cent.

For me these figures were not surprising. Both my parents have Facebook accounts and engage more frequently than I do and I know I'm not alone. Most of my friend's parents also have active Facebook accounts. So then why the gap between what is believed and what is reality?

I feel the reasons behind why the baby boomers use Facebook may account for the gap. Students use it mostly to socialize. The baby boomers may have ulterior motives. Yes they want to stay in touch with their children but they also want to observe what they are doing. The watchdog works best if hidden. They have a superior presence online but keep it hidden better.

The bottom line: Baby boomers then may play the role of technologically challenged but are actually savvier then us.

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