The fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, seniors are flocking to social media like never before. And it’s not just Facebook that’s seeing an influx of the older generation. More and more over-65’s are also joining Instagram and Twitter.
Not only do people use social media to catch up with family and friends, and share their lives with people they don’t necessarily see every day, but it’s also increasingly becoming how people view and keep up with news and current affairs. The same goes for the senior demographic.
Seniors on social in numbers
In Australia, 89% of online consumers use social media. This is up from 79% in 2017. While not the largest group on social media platforms, seniors are still signing up in hoards. Of the above number, 30% of people aged between 50 and 64, and 24% of people over the age of 65 access social media sites at least once a day.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population is now sitting above 25 million people. And according to the Yellow Social Media Report, there are 15 million Australians using the platform. That’s 60% of the Australian population.
While the majority of those users are between the ages of 25 and 55, the 55-plus age group still represents a decent 2.8 million users, with 4 in 5 of those surveyed by Australian Seniors reporting that they use social media platforms.
The benefits of using social media
Various studies have shown that the internet, and indeed, social media, has become an important tool in reducing isolation, loneliness, and depressive symptoms in those who use it, including seniors. If that’s not a large enough benefit, here are some others.
Keep in touch
Social media is a wonderful way to keep in touch with people around the world. Whether it’s sharing pictures, sharing stories or sharing news, millions of people log on to social media platforms every day just to see what’s going on in their network of family, friends and even acquaintances. For seniors, it’s also a great way to find people they may have lost touch with over the years and to keep in touch with their grandchildren. Social media really has revolutionized the way people connect.
Stay up to date
For many social media users, it’s not just about staying in touch with family and friends, it’s also about staying in touch with global news and current events. Today’s generation of seniors follows news sites, sports teams and even people of interests on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. For many around the world, regardless of age, social media is where we get our news and often, it’s where news breaks the fastest.
Interaction and entertainment
There’s something delightfully charming about all of those cat videos and why should the grandparents of the world miss out? Whether it’s following an entertainer they love on social media or watching clips from comedians, anyone can be entertained on social media. Plus, there are communities out there based on absolutely anything. Love to bake? Find a baking group and join in on the conversation–they’re happening on Facebook and Twitter.
There’s no denying that the benefits of social media far outweigh the benefits of not being on there. Even if it’s just creating an account on Instagram to follow the people you care about, you’re still engaging with those around you. Just remember to never overshare information, especially personal details, always ask before you post a picture of someone, invite and accept friend requests wisely and try to avoid courting controversial topics.
Luke Fitzpatrick is a Forbes contributor and a guest lecturer at Sydney University—in his past, he worked for startups in both South Korea and Australia.