As Facebook ages — it’s 11 years old this year — so does its users. Facebook is no longer exclusively a network for younger people. While it’s losing teenagers by the bucket load, it’s gaining users in the 55-plus demographic. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, 45 percent of American seniors who are online use social networking sites such as Facebook (up from 35 percent a year ago).
That’s because seniors are discovering that Facebook has a lot more to offer than just finding out what your grandson had for breakfast. Here are six ways in which older people are using Facebook:
1 Connecting with people: As with all who join Facebook, older adults are using its email and news feeds to connect with friends and family and to reconnect with people they had lost touch with.
2 Video calls: Facebook, partnering with Skype, allows them to make live video calls to others all over the world.
3 Promoting a cause: Many older adults use Facebook to volunteer and engage with their local communities. They have a wealth of experiences to share and are likely to create connections with people who have similar interests. Groups can be created, and events — from a round of golf to a political march — can be organized through Facebook.
4 Sharing photos: Photos can be sent to only a select few or posted for everyone to see.
5 Business opportunities: Since 65 is no longer the de facto age to retire, many older professionals use Facebook as a networking tool to create business opportunities. Facebook can be a powerful tool for brands, businesses and charities. It lets them get word out about their businesses or activities and engage with people who matter. Seniors can also receive news and tips from other professionals and companies in particular areas of expertise.
6 Education and hobbies: Older people have discovered they can take online courses, learn languages and research genealogy though Facebook. It is also an excellent way to develop hobbies and interests. When seniors “like” a page, they can get regular updates on things that interest them.