Facebook Gets Grayer

Posted On September 7, 2011

According to the Pew Center’s latest look at social media, Baby Boomers and Matures are now the demographics driving explosive growth in social networking, while Millennials’ use of such sites has flattened. While social networking sites are still enormously popular among Millennials – 83% use them – growth in their popularity within the younger demographic has stalled, and even declined over the past year (from 86%). On the other hand, the growth in the use of social media among older generations has been as phenomenal as it was among Millennials just a few years ago. Over the past two years, social networking has doubled among Baby Boomers and risen by 150% among matures.

For the first time since Pew has examined the issue, a majority (51%) of Baby Boomers are using social networking sites, up from 11% three years ago.  And while just a third of Matures are currently using social media, that’s up from 7% in 2008. These growth rates mirror the explosive adoption of social media by Millennials from 2005-2007.

The graying of social media has obvious ramifications for the networks themselves. They will have to adapt to a new demographic mix of users and may find that some sites appeal to certain generations more than others. (Already, for example, Twitter is the most popular among Gen X while Facebook is tops among Boomers.) Marketers and sellers who are oriented to older generations should also take note: social media strategies are not just for reaching teenagers anymore.


Categories: Baby Boomers, Generations, Matures