Everyone’s Mom is on Facebook

story3[2]It seems like now more than ever you hear people say “My mom is one Facebook!!” Even me. While this brings about a whole new ballpark of humiliation for children and their parents, it is an important sign of the trends in social media today. And it is important to recognize exactly what this means for social media, the general public and marketing professionals today.

The Trend

According to Inside Facebook, over the course of 180 days from September 2008 to March 2009, there was a huge increase in the number of Facebook users in older generations. Overall, the 55-65 demographic increased the most with over 400%. Next was 45-54 year olds increasing just under 400%. Surprisingly enough, 18-25 year olds increased the least in that time period despite being the largest group of users at over 19.5 million. Clearly, the older demographics are increasing at a rapid rate in terms of social media use.

What does this mean for social media?

Social media users and providers need to take notice of this trend, without a doubt. It is important to keep users engaged for future success. The main goal of social networking sites, like Facebook, is to allow people to connect with friends, family and coworkers simply and effectively. Ultimately, we all just want to be able to connect. For older generations, however, it is much less about “stalking” and more about being able to talk with friends and family. More and more we see applications that promote use by older generations, like Family Tree.

What does this mean for the general public?

Noticing that older generations are on social networks like Facebook should no longer be about suffering humiliation due to a parent. It is important to recognize that generations, like Baby Boomers, still thrive for a connection. They aren’t ignoring the technology of today. Many have embraced it, and as a result, social media. It’s impossible to use technology without its social aspects. Along with new media innovations, come social innovations that everyone should notice.

What does this mean to marketing professionals?

Marketers cannot ignore these types of happenings. They need to be aware of it. These can mean a few things. First of all, companies and clients cannot make the excuse for not using social media anymore. It is clear that older audiences are listening through these channels and ready to receive the message. Companies should take the leap into new media, because although it can be scary, it is important to recognize an opportunity to connect with audiences.

For marketing professionals, they need to learn a new set of skills. With the introduction of social media, messages were crafted for younger audiences. Today, it is important to understand how to target older audiences through social channels. Without the understanding and the knowledge, an important opportunity will be missed.

Finding out that a parent is on Facebook shouldn’t be met with groans and signs of frustration anymore. It should be an important signal for the way things are changing. Not only do we as media consumers need to take notice, but as marketing professionals we need to understand the impact this could have.

Image credit: mp_eds via Flickr

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