PR Connection 5: Social Networking among boomers

July 12, 2010

In an article by Patricia Reaney, AARP did a study of the baby boomer generation (adults 50-64) and more than twenty-five percent of Americans are staying connected by using social networks such as twitter, myspace, and facebook. The study also shows that “nearly a quarter of older Americans are on Facebook and 73 percent said they use it to stay in touch with relatives, but not just their children and grandchildren.”

I can personally see this because my own parents, who are in this same demographic, are constantly talking about who they found on facebook. It seems that it is becoming their new telephone. I can see the reasoning behind it; why call long distance (even though we have free long distance on the cell phone) when you can talk to them all you want on facebook. My mother, who is the primary user of facebook in our house, makes me laugh because when she runs into someone she hasn’t seen in a long time, she says “I never see anyone except on facebook!” The other day I was talking to both of my parents about Twitter and the intensity on their faces as they listen to my description of the site was almost shocking. At one point in my life, I never thought I would be able to talk about the internet with my parents, and them be on the same page as I. However, I can see the gap is slowing being bridged by these sites and the ease in which a person can use them.

While Facebook and Twitter, Myspace and others are great forms of communication, and great mediums for public communications, I still can’t help but think back to the days when things were much more simple and all I had to worry about was caller id. For you see, though they may be great tools to contact someone, there is also a sense of invasion of privacy. No longer can you simply say you’re going to the store for cleaning supplies and to get some gas without the federal government flagging your name. No longer can you talk about how much fun you and your boyfriend had this weekend without opening yourself for the worlds’ opinion of WHAT you did.

Though it is meant only as a networking site, social it may be, but shouldn’t we be precautious of “big brother” and the watchful eye?

I digress and congratulate the baby boomer generation for hopping onto the social networking bandwagon. Just remember, as I tell my own parents, you never know who’s watching, so be careful what you say! 🙂

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