Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

The following is a post from Pyxl’s current public relations intern, Kelly Steffen.

Is your grandmother on Facebook? As of a few weeks ago, my 70 year-old grandmother joined the millions of other people on Facebook. As happy as I am to connect with her more easily, it’s still a bit strange to have her commenting on my pictures and updates. Another side of me says “way to go grandma!” As a millennial, I often take new technology for granted. Because I’ve been exposed to the growing advances in technology, it comes more easily to me than my grandmother who is completely out of place in the digital world.

While nearly 86 percent of people 18 to 29 regularly use social networks, new research shows that people 50+ are joining at a rapid rate. So here’s another reason to monitor what content you put on the internet—is it grandma approved?

It got me thinking, how do different generations use social media? I used Pew Research Center articles to find relevant information about the different cohorts and to see how these groups used the internet.

Here’s the breakdown of the generational cohorts.

Millennials (18-29)

According to Pew, Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history, largely due to the exposure of modern technology at an early age. As a Millennial, I’ve had more opportunities to have hands on experience with technology than my parents and grandparents. We embrace multiple modes of self-expression by exploring multiple social networking sites and create a large amount of online content.

Social media is just one of their uses of the Internet, and it’s not even the most important. They access the Internet continuously first and foremost for information and for entertainment and secondarily for connection.

Millennials far outpace older Americans in the use of social networking sites, with 75 percent having created a social networking profile.

Generation X (30-45)

Generation X uses technology as much as Millennials but primarily when it when it supports a particular lifestyle need. Much of the online content that this generation participates in is geared to online shopping and banking with less socializing than Millennials.

Boomers (46-64)

Baby Boomers use the internet and various social networks for travel and recreation information. Although email continues to be the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, many Boomers now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications. These include sharing links, photos, videos, news and status updates with a growing network of contacts.

Matures (65+)

Seniors are less likely to use internet resources for simple lack of broadband access. Pew states that only 6 percent have created a social networking profile. The primary form of communication is email with 89 percent of those ages 65 and older send or read emails and more than twice of any other cohort on a typical day.

Maybe this explains why I get at least three “chain emails” a week from my grandmother…

What do you think? Do you fit into your cohort for social media use?

  • Kelly – this is a great post! Recent stats show an exponential growth in the 65+ groups using Facebook. I live in a 55 and older community and to my neighbors, I'm the geeky young kid at 59. However, after a summer of visits from their grandchildren, most of them are now connected on Facebook. I wrote a post about this on my site. Here's a link: http://geeksgeezersgooglization.com/older-adults-join-facebook-frenzy/

  • Wow Ira, that's also a great post! I think the rate at which seniors use social networking sites is going to increase even more within the next five years. I'm actually doing a case study on the use of social networking sites by senior users 65+–I'll definitely use your post for some great reference stats!

  • Wow Ira, that's also a great post! I think the rate at which seniors use social networking sites is going to increase even more within the next five years. I'm actually doing a case study on the use of social networking sites by senior users 65+–I'll definitely use your post for some great reference stats!