The survey, which polled 2,000 adults in October 2014, uncovered a huge jump in seniors on every major social network. Since 2013, for instance, the number of seniors on Facebook grew 11 percentage points, to 56 percent. And on Twitter and Instagram, networks where seniors haven’t traditionally made many inroads, their numbers doubled and sextupled, respectively.
The survey also confirmed some more conventional wisdom about social media: While Internet types (i.e., Youngs) tend to hype Twitter quite a bit, the network is relatively niche — especially compared to behemoth Facebook. And while many of Facebook’s users tend to gripe about over-sharing and baby pictures and myriad other things, they still log on incessantly: 70 percent of Facebook’s users check the site daily, and half of those people log in multiple times a day.
In addition to senior, Pew also found that Facebook has grown among men, whites, college graduates and people in households making more than $50,000 a year. (So if you string it all together, essentially, the social network’s booming with old, rich, white dudes.)
We probably should have seen this coming, of course: Signs of the elderly invasion have been cropping up for months. First a 114-year-old woman joined Facebook. Then researchers began advocating senior Internet use as a means of cutting isolation and depression risks. Just this week, the outraged lawn-protectors of Twitter descended — like arthritic vultures! — on the network’s young Kanye fans, cawing about “culture” and the music of their “day.”
But fear not, besieged whippersnappers: The Olds can’t keep this up forever. Before too long they’ll be gone, and Facebook will be gone, and some as-yet-uninvented technology will be the hot new thing.
Call it the 21st century circle of life: We’ll be the new Olds, crotchety and late-adopting, rising to take the old Olds’ place.