Social media networks are increasingly appealing to older users, eMarketer has reported.

A May 2010 survey from Pew Internet and American Life Project outlines that internet usage among users aged 50 and over has almost doubled during the past year from 22% to 42%.

In fact, according to the study, 47% of 50 to 64-year-old internet users and 26% of seniors aged 65 and over indicate that they use social networking websites, compared to 13% of seniors and 25% of 50 to 64-year-olds indicating their usage a year ago. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most popular websites.

The Pew report explains that the lure of social media for older users can be attributed to the following reasons:

  • Social media websites provide an ideal way of reconnecting with others from the past,
  • Social media is useful for parents and grandparents to learn about the lives of their children and grandchildren, and
  • People with chronic diseases are more likely to reach people online, and older people are more likely to have a chronic disease.

Ironically, the surge in older users participating in social networks may be pushing younger users away.

As eMarketer explains, “Already hyper-vigilant about their privacy and what they share, young users may stop considering social networks cool when their parents join – let alone their grandparents.”