Seniors Staying Social

Senior Adults Looking at a LaptopImage from: AISPIX / Shutterstock

We all know the horror of realizing our moms or dads are on Facebook and are now posting their favorite 5 paragraph recipes in their status updates or asking us who can see what on their wall and liking all of our friends posts. Although it may be painful to watch your parents try to be “hip” and stay up with the times, it is another thing to see your grandparents on Facebook. That, my friend, is AWESOME. My personal favorite is when my 85 year Grandmother writes an unrelated comment on my Facebook status asking me what I had for lunch. Every time I go to visit her I give her a mini Facebook lesson and show her the pictures people have recently tagged her in. Then she goes back to playing Bingo or Pop-it online.

Although each generation has its own faux pas surrounding interacting with the internet and social media, we are all truly trying to learn how to best utilize these platforms. Even if we mess up once or twice, I feel it’s important for every generation to at least dip their toes in the water before they make the decision whether or not to swim. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can certainly teach your Grandmother how to use Facebook. Personally, I might hold off on teaching my Grandmother Twitter before she starts tweeting about how McDonald’s put too much salt on her french fries or didn’t give her the senior discount on her soda. But all jokes aside, seniors are undoubtedly becoming more familiar and comfortable with the Internet and social sites. I checked out our Senior behavioral category and checked out the Top Destinations from the top Senior sites to see where seniors spent their time online in November.

Outgoing Traffic from category "Senior" (Timeframe: November 2011)"   
Destination SiteIndustry CategoryMonthly Outgoing ShareChange in Share
ssa.govFederal Government13.92%-5.89%
google.comGeneral Portals and Search11.61%13.04%
yahoo.comGeneral Portals and Search7.93%-7.11%
facebook.comPersonal Networking5.65%-6.17%
eprize.comRewards Program3.79%13.62%
bing.comGeneral Portals and Search2.25%9.87%
mymedicare.govInsurance and Physicians2.17%56.00%
msn.comGeneral Portals and Search1.83%2.23%
ask.comGeneral Portals and Search1.58%-4.58%
live.comGeneral Portals and Search1.56%-13.88%
aol.comGeneral Portals and Search1.21%-11.84%
hhs.govFederal Government1.21%33.19%
medicare.govInsurance and Physicians0.79%9.30%
socialsecurity.govFederal Government0.77%28.47%

As you can see, Facebook is actually the #4 site that Seniors go to from other senior sites. Another top destination for seniors in November was Youtube, which had increased by 15% in referrals from our senior category. Twitter came in at #38, but it was up 108% in referrals from our Senior category sites.

In terms of site demographics, Facebook and Youtube have the most proportionate senior populations, with 9% of their visitors 65+, compared with the Internet’s 10%. Twitter falls just a bit shorter with 8% of it’s population in the 65 and above category.

About Jen Duguay:
Jen Duguay joins Compete to take on all things social media. She comes from a social issue background, most recently having worked for the Social Innovation Forum, the venture philanthropy arm of Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm. Jen's interests include singing, marketing, running, art, making guacemole, and using social entrepreneurship to tackle world issues. She has spent time in Belize and the Dominican Republic working on microfinance initiatives and recently traveled to Kenya where she studied the public healthcare system. Follow Jen @jenduguay on Twitter.