In 2010, research showed that 18% of Australian Twitter users are aged between 45 and 54, so just as the Gen Y’s thought it was safe to chat, tweet and post online, the baby boomers are following suit en masse to the world of social media that has developed into a 21st century cultural phenomenon.
Evidence shows that the number of baby boomers and seniors embracing social media has jumped dramatically in 2009 and 2010. The social media platform that is most popular with boomers is Facebook.
According to a study undertaken by the AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons) earlier this year, 23% of people 50 and older prefer Facebook as their social networking site over Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
Facebook has the potential to improve the lives of senior Australians by keeping them connected and maintaining relationships through the use of online groups and fan pages. Boomers and seniors are creating Facebook groups fuelled by their passion about a particular product or service and companies are now targeting these online groups as part of their social media marketing campaigns.
Keeping up with the ever-expanding social media platforms and groups hasn’t been a problem for the boomers: around 47% of those using some form of social networking had heard of it from a family member, with most being tipped-off by a child or grandchild.
The boomers are changing the dynamic of social networking. Now sites like Twitter and Facebook are incumbent with groups such as ‘Use Life Alert’ and ‘Baby Boomers’, where their demographic can chat about anything from politics, shopping or new community groups. Word of mouth marketing is advantageous in this form of social media because decision making about issues such as health care is often most influenced by advice from friends, family or people who have ‘been there before’.
The baby boomers are now one of the fastest-growing demographics among internet users. A new report from Forrester Research shows that more than 60% of baby boomers actively consume socially created content such as blogs, videos, emails, podcasts and forums.
Common misconceptions are being debunked as the over 50s are ‘tagging’, ‘tweeting’ and ‘liking’ – who said that the boomers were intimidated by social media jargon?
More and more boomers are creating blogs and using these platforms to manage relationships as well as create new ones. The boomers’ move online has becomes ever more important for organisations, the vast majority of which which need to be in the conversations, building strong and ongoing relationships.