Pew Study Finds Social Media Use by Adults Grew Nearly 10x Over Past Decade

More Than a Third of Adults 65+ Now Report Using Social Media

From the Pew Research Center:

Nearly two-thirds of American adults (65%) use social networking sites, up from 7% when Pew Research Center began systematically tracking social media usage in 2005.

Age is strongly correlated with social media usage: Those ages 18 to 29 have always been the most likely users of social media by a considerable margin. Today, 90% of young adults use social media, compared with 12% in 2005, a 78-percentage point increase. At the same time, there has been a 69-point bump among those ages 30-49, from 8% in 2005 to 77% today.

While usage among young adults started to level off as early as 2010, since then there has been a surge in usership among those 65 and older. In 2005, 2% of seniors used social media, compared with 35% today.

“While we would expect younger people to most warmly and fully embrace social networks, it’s the revelation of quantum growth of social media among older Americans that catches our attention in this study,” says Tom Perrault, Vice President Digital Services for Dunham+Company.

“Dunham+Company’s Nonprofit Social Media Scorecard study recently revealed that charitable organizations generally fail to engage their donors on social channels. What we now know from the Pew study is that more and more of the key donor demographic is active on social media. This means that an organization not engaging donors on social networks is missing an essential part of a healthy donor cultivation and communication strategy,” Perrault concludes.

Download the Nonprofit Social Media Scorecard study.

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