Social Networking for Seniors

Vol. 23 No. 3

By

Jeffrey M. Allen is the principal of Graves & Allen in Oakland, California. A frequent speaker and writer on technology topics, he is editor-in-chief of GPSolo magazine and GPSolo eReport, an editorial board member of the ABA Journal and Experience magazine, author of jallenlawtekblog.com, co-author of Technology Solutions for Today’s Lawyer (ABA 2013) and iPad® for Lawyers (West 2013), and a liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Services. In addition to being licensed as an attorney in California, he has been admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He is an associate professor at California State University of the East Bay. He also works extensively as an arbitrator and a mediator.

Seniors have moved into social networking online. In fact, although the percentage of users remains somewhat lower than other age groups, seniors represent the fastest growing demographic for social networking users in the United States. A chart, published online by Mashable, http://mashable.com/2013/08/08/senior-citizens-social-media, shows the increase in the use of social media and networking by seniors over the last five years. It reflects a far more dramatic growth for those over age 65 than for any other age group. It also shows the 50–64 age group as the second fastest growing adopters. The chart also shows that despite the recent growth, the 65-plus age group has not yet cracked the 50 percent mark, while all other age groups have, and the 50–64 age group (second lowest) has already reached 60 percent.

An infographic prepared by Wishpond, http://blog.wishpond.com/post/51827002974/infographic-how-senior-citizens-interact-on-social, shows that seniors currently make fairly broad use of the Internet and its features, including participation in social media. It gives you some idea of how seniors use the Internet and social media sites.

While most people (including many seniors) believe that seniors as a group are technologically challenged, that generalization (which may once have had some truth to it) is rapidly going the way of the dinosaurs. More and more seniors have acknowledged technology, and many of those who acknowledge it have adopted and even befriended it. Now we find seniors regularly using e-mail accounts, text messaging from smartphones and tablets, keeping up with friends and family by interacting through social media sites or through Skype, exchanging videos and photographs, and streaming media for entertainment.

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