Social media usage soars among the 50+ crowd

Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen has two adult daughters in their thirties, and they like to tease their mother about the amount of time she spends on Facebook.

“The aren’t on it nearly as as much as I am,” says Jensen, 58. She joined Facebook about three years ago to stay in touch with her very large extended family, and friends in the four states where she’s grown up and lived. “My life has been chopped into major pieces,” she says. “I grew up in western Pennsylvania, but I’ve lived in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina. And I was in all these places long enough to make good friends and professional relationships. It’s wonderful to be in touch with them, even just a little bit.”

Jensen’s experience help explain a remarkable surge recently in social media usage by older Americans. A report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released this week finds that use of social media sites among people over 50 is the fastest of any age group. Growth among seniors (over 65) has tripled since 2009, from 13 percent to 43 percent; growth surged at a similar rate in the 50-to-64 age group, from 24 percent to 60 percent. Learn more at Reuters Money.