Social media fast attracting the older generation

The number of social media users amongst the British adult population is on the increase, according to new Ofcom figures.

The recent release of statistics from the independent body found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of UK-based adults now have at least one social media profile on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. This is a five per cent increase on just one year ago. Meanwhile half of all adults also revealed they check their profiles at least once a day.

Ofcom has attributed the increase to a host of ‘baby boomers’, with new families resulting in the proportion of 55 to 64-year-olds owning a social media profile increasing from 24 to 35 per cent in the last 12 months in a bid to keep in touch with new grandchildren.

Arguably the most obvious statistic from Ofcom’s report was that social networking is almost endemic within 16 to 24-year-olds, with 92 per cent of young adults owning at least one social media profile.

Although the older generation are increasingly becoming enchanted by the new world of social media, it is the youngsters who still boast the wider social circles, with an average of 352 friend connections in comparison with just 126 for users aged over-45.

The report, which was designed as an annual survey to ascertain general attitudes to media, also found that the average time we spend online continues to increase exponentially. We each spend on average 17 hours a week online, up from 15 hours in the 2011 survey.

Despite the increasing demand for social networks from the older generation, there appears to be a need for networks to improve their overall transparency. Ofcom’s report found that although social usage was significantly up, Britons are now less likely to trust what they read on their Facebook walls and Twitter timelines.

Almost half (43 per cent) of those surveyed confirmed they could not trust what they read on social networks, a figure up from 35 per cent 12 months previous.

With the over 55’s increasingly interacting with social media, it is a new demographic for businesses to target in a bid to refine and improve conversion rates.

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