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August 29, 2011

More Adults Than Ever Using Social Networking Sites

By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer

When most people think of social networks they probably think of teens telling the world about their innermost secrets while giving little thought to who is actually reading them. They might also think about children using the sites to connect with their classmates to find things out like what assignments are due the next day. Whether talking about Facebook (News - Alert), MySpace or Twitter the overriding mental picture of social network users is that of young people.

A new Pew study should shatter those pre-conceived notions with the findings showing that fully half of all adults in the United States are now logging onto social networking sites. That particular number grows when you take into account the number of adults who use the Internet at all. When that particular group is polled, two-thirds report that they use a social networking site like Facebook. While those numbers are up a little, the group where social networking has increased the most is among the Baby Boomers.

Among those adults between the ages of 50 and 64, 32 percent now say that they use a social networking site on a regular basis. That number is up 20 percent from 2010, and is expected to continue rising. Not surprisingly, the mental image of younger people using the site is not completely out of line. Young adults are the highest users of social networking sites with the biggest use group being women aged 18 to 29. Of this particular section, 89 percent say they use a site like Twitter or Facebook and 69 percent say they use a social networking site on a daily basis.

Certainly sites like LinkedIn (News - Alert) have done quite a bit to get adults on the web, as sites like that are geared more to a professional culture. Still, Facebook is still reeling in plenty of visitors of the adult variety. More coffee shops as well as cyber cafes offering free WiFi (News - Alert) helps, despite the fact that people are frequenting those places less regularly these days. These numbers seem to indicate that more and more adults will be joining the social media craze for years to come and that advertisers might be smart to start taking that into account.

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Edited by Jennifer Russell
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