The rise of the silver surfer

Or, I hope I Tweet before I get old – talking about the Facebook generation. Many of whom would probably remember ‘My Generation’ when it first came out. You see social networks, Facebook especially, are now bit with the over 50s.

According to Nielson, membership to Facebook grew by 41% for the period 2009 to 2011. But amazingly it grew 81% with older users.¬†This trend is also echoed on Twitter, but whereas younger users have stayed with Facebook, they’ve drifted away from Twitter.

This is an interesting change and one that challenges the stereotyped image of the bumbling silver surfer.

Looking from a business/marketing perspective, this opens up social platforms to a stable demographic who are more receptive to advertising and also easier to monetize than a younger audience. They may also be more cash rich than a younger audience.

However, the flip side is that younger users may start to leave social networks as they see their parents and grandparents pop up in, or god forbid comment on, their feeds. I remember the day my dad said he was going to “try out this Facebook” now he’s retired. A little part of me wondered how I’d deal with his friend request (is it wrong to ignore?!) and if he’d realise I’d blocked him from seeing some of my status updates.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out and which way up the coin will land. I for one can’t see my folks using Facebook at all, let alone in a way that would lead them to be influenced by advertising. Especially as long as one of them refers to it as FaceSpace.

By Daniel Honey

Leave a Reply