Social network is rated more highly than Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and its popularity among older uses is growing
Facebook has changed the way we operate on the internet. The social network, launched in 2004, now has over a billion users, and the chances are that you are one of them.
Now, research from Silversurfers.com has revealed that Facebook is kingpin of social media for the over 50s. The lifestyle and news website found that 47 per cent of the over 50s believe they will use Facebook more as they grow older.
While for the younger generation social media may be seen as a hindrance rather than a help, the over 50s recognise that as they grow older, social media will become more and more valuable, helping to play a key role in keeping in touch with friends and family.
Silversurfers found that 92 per cent of internet savvy over 50s use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, while 48 per cent use it to share updates and photographs. 81 per cent of the 3,012 demographic surveyed said that they check Facebook more than once a day.
“Being comfortable using Facebook will help older people stay connected to their families and friends, and may help alleviate loneliness in later years,” says Martin Lock, CEO of Silversurfers.com.
The survey also found that other social media doesn’t appeal to the over 50s, with 35 per cent of the demographic claiming that they can’t be bothered with social media apart from Facebook.
According to Silversurfers, the most popular type of Facebook posts for the over 50s are nostalgia, human interest, and handy tips.
“We were stunned at the popularity of Facebook. Over 3,000 people completed our survey and the message is clear: Facebook is King of social media for the over 50s. They don’t rate other social media,” Martin Lock added.
The power of social media to bring people together is clear, and what’s more, it can be done from the comfort of your own home.
60 year old Jan Rosser founded online community magazine for the over 55s Oapschat in April 2013. Rather than ‘old age pensioners’, the OAPS stands for ‘Optimistic and ProActive Seniors’ and, Rosser says, is a way for people of all ages to meet new people and feel part of a community.
Concerned with how few websites there were for the over 55s, and the scourge on society that is loneliness, she decided to do something about it. Thus, Oapschat was born, and with it a Facebook page to connect people together.
Rosser has had a personal Facebook page for five years. “I like to keep in touch with school friends, especially those who have moved abroad,” she says. “It is great to see how we have or have no changed over the years. Photos are so important in this respect.”
“Facebook is the modern way of not being on your own,” says Derek Coles, an Oapschat user who has made new friends through the group. “I have managed to get in touch with like-minded people through Facebook. A lot of us don’t know each other but we have a common interest that enables us to have discussions on many topics.”
Author Kate Long is a fan of Facebook too. “It puts me back in touch with friends and family who live a long way away,” she says. “As a woman I also get a lot of romantic approaches from male strangers. However, those I just delete, then block the sender, so it’s not a problem.
“Facebook is a great place to meet people with similar interests. I belong to a wildlife group and a local history society, both of which are well-run, polite, and members-only. We share photographs and ask questions, and there’s always someone ready to chip in and help, admire or sympathise.”
Andrew Ingram, 57, the founder of BetterBusinessWriting.biz, joined Facebook in 2007. “I wouldn’t say I’m an early adopter, but early experimenter or explorer,” he says. “Initially I thought it would mainly keep me in touch with my children.”
“I am fascinated by the way people use social media,” he says. “Facebook is my journal. When I die, descendants will find it helpful for my epitaph.”
Online is where it is at, for the over 55s. Not all the time, but when there’s an iPad, an iPhone or a computer to hand, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be on it.
“Oapschat has been an absolute boon for a lot of people who are stuck at home and feeling isolated,” Long says. “The idea behind the site was to alleviate loneliness, and I so admire that aim.”
This article was written by Eleanor Doughty from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.