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AARP uncovers why older adults use social media

September 10, 2012

By now, most people recognize that seniors have become one of the fastest-growing segments of users on social media websites. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, a growing number of older adults have made it a point to stay up with the latest technology trends. While many people know that more older adults are using social media, they may be less familiar with the specifics of how they're using, but a recent AARP poll offers some insight.

The survey, which interviewed Americans 50 and older, found that about 38 percent of respondents use some kind of social media. Though it's significantly less than the 18-49 demographic, which stands at 68 percent, it still represents a substantial amount of older adults.

Researchers also found out what the social media website of choice is among the over-50 crowd. Though Facebook was the overwhelming favorite at 87 percent, LinkedIn performed especially well. In fact, more over-50 social media users are on LinkedIn (19 percent) than the younger cohort (17 percent). Twitter was also somewhat popular, with 10 percent of older adults on the website.

The study also delved into what older adults do when they're logged on to their social media profile. Fifty-four percent use the websites to stay in touch with family and friends, while about 9 percent use it to keep up with what everyone is talking about.

Using the computer for social media may actually be a part of healthy aging, if recent studies are to be believed. According to research from the Mayo Clinic, when combined with exercise, mentally stimulating computer activity could lower the risk of memory loss in older adults.