Significant rise in older social media users.

You heard it from us.

Ellis Jones has long been an avid supporter of older social media users. We believe the common perception of older people not using the internet, unable to use technology and being too afraid of fraudulent activity to shop or interact with others online is a stereotype that has been challenged and is now coming unstuck with the release of the Sensis annual eBusiness report this month. Findings in our Older Victorians Online survey, released in March pre-empted this notion for Victorians at least.

Findings included:

  • Over 20 per cent of 75-85 year olds and 37 per cent of 65-75 year olds cited social media as one of their main online activities.
  • Two thirds of Victorians aged over 85 do online banking and over half of 65 to 85 year olds in Victoria booking accommodation online.
  • Increasing engagement by the 85 plus respondents in regards to both reading and creating user generated content.

Ultimately, we found many older people both enjoy and feel empowered by their ability to communicate online and clearly possess the skills to perform relatively complex activities such as banking.

Sensis has just released their annual eBusiness report stating a 23 per cent increase in people over 65 years old using social media, over the last 12 months.

Other excellent facts about older Australians online from the Sensis report:

  • Ownership of tablet devices such as an iPad has jumped even more dramatically in older people with almost one in five now owning a tablet device compared to one in 50 just a year ago.
  • Use of social media more than tripled during the past year among over 65s, with 27 per cent saying they have used social media sites in the past year, up from 10 per cent last year.
  • Interestingly, almost half of respondents over 65 say they use social media less than once a week, compared with 42 per cent of the total population who say they use social media several times a day.

Report author, Christena Singh, said the results showed a significant number of Australians aged over 65 were embracing the internet.

“I think 2012 will be remembered as the year that older Australians got online. It’s interesting to see that many are choosing to do this with a tablet device rather than just their home computer.”

“Interestingly, using a mobile phone to access the internet hasn’t yet caught on with the older age group, but this may change over time” Ms Singh said.

 See the full annual Sensis eBusiness report here.


Mashable published a great story yesterday about Facebook’s oldest known user, Florence Detlor, aged 101 years.

Mashable writes, “She’s also the oldest person to visit Facebook HQ, where she met with COO Sheryl Sandberg, along with a guy young enough to be her great-grandchild: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder.”

Do you know any older people who use social media? If so, what do they use it for and how do you think it can improve their lives?

Ellis Jones knows older people and social media. Get in touch to find out more.

Image credit: Meg Stewart via Flickr