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Tweeting in the Golden Years: Older Americans Using Social Media More

Diane Singleton of Houston, Texas, admits she’s 50-something but not much more. On her Facebook page, however, you can find out where she went to high school and which local businesses she “likes.” Singleton is part of a growing number of 50- to 65-year-olds using social networking tools on the internet according a new study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

Some findings:

  • 47 percent of all Internet users in the 50 to 65 age range use social networking sites, up 88 percent from 2009
  • 26 percent of users older than 65 are involved in social media, which is almost double a year ago.

E-mail is still the way most older adults communicate online but Twitter is no longer such a foreign word or idea. According to Pew, 11 percent of Internet users ages 50 to 64 now have Twitter accounts compared to only 5 percent in 2009.

The study notes, however, Twitter has not yet caught on among Internet users older than 65. Perhaps grandparents and great-grandparents don’t need the feel to check in on Foursquare or tweet.

Singleton said she has reconnected with people from her past that she never expected. Along with work-related reasons, and seeking online support during times of poor health, older Americans are getting online to stay in touch with younger generations. Singleton said she joined Facebook to see pictures of her daughter’s wedding but has decided to stay put.

Hari Sreenivasan contributed to this report.

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