Every week I get stats on the number of clicks and mentions on the various articles that I’ve linked to on social media. The numbers aren’t huge but it gives me an idea of the subjects that are catching people’s interest. This article was right at the top, which came as a bit of a surprise.
Facebook is Turning Into AARP
This article published by MarketWatch, digs into a report just released by the Pew Research Center titled Social Media Usage: 2005-2015. The article’s focus is on the impressive increase in the use of social networks by seniors.
According to the last US Census, 23.5% of Tuolumne County residents are over age 65, which is nearly double the California average. From a local business perspective, this means that a potential target audience is showing up on social media in increasing numbers.
Some of the key findings in the Pew report:
- Among Americans 65 and older, 35% report using social media. This is up from 2% in 2005 and 11% in 2010.
- On Facebook in particular, the numbers have increased from 45% in 2013 to 56% today.
- Younger, higher income and more highly educated seniors use the Internet at rates at or above that of the general population. This rate falls at the age of 75.
- Seniors who use social media are more likely to socialize with others offline, by phone or in person.
The AARP Public Policy Institute advises older Americans to get connected for the support system that it provides. The article quotes David Maxfield, Vice President of Research at VitalSmarts, a training and consulting firm in Provo, UT:
If a grandparent wants to stay in touch, they’re often better off reaching out on Facebook rather than phone or even email. Have you ever tried to leave a voice message for a teenager? They might not get back to you for two weeks.
Getting Local Seniors Online
In our own community there is an upcoming opportunity to introduce those with little or no experience to the benefits of the online world. Central Sierra Connect, with funding from Sonora Area Foundation and the California Emerging Technology Fund, has partnered with ATCAA, Mother Lode Job Training, the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools and the Tuolumne County Library, to provide free basic computer and Internet classes for Tuolumne County residents.
These classes will start early in 2016 and the curriculum is in the process of being developed now. They are actively seeking volunteer teachers and coaches who are: tech savvy, patient, flexible, empathetic and have a desire to help others improve their lives. For more details and contact info, please see their web page: New Computer Training Classes in Tuolumne County.