Senior Citizens in Social Media

By Catherine Crump

I can remember trying to teach my eighty-year-old Grandmother to use email a few years ago. She was an educated woman, well read and a great writer. She struggled with the concepts of email, though. We muddled through and eventually she was able to use email at a very basic level. Reading about the statistics and demographics of social media today makes me wonder if my Grandmother would have been on Facebook.

According to the Pew Research Center 79% of people using the internet (this makes up 68% of US adults) are on Facebook. It is easy to picture today’s teenagers and young adults using this platform on a daily basis, and there is a saturation of usage in that group, but the highest demographic for growth of Facebook use is the age sixty-five and up crowd. 62% of internet users over the age of sixty-five use Facebook, which is a double digit increase from 2015.

Facebook dominates the social media market in the United States, but how do the other popular platforms perform according to age of user? Instagram is statistically bent to younger users. 59% of young adults use Instagram, with that number being massively reduced to only 8% for the sixty-five and up crowd. Twitter is more popular in the younger crowd, but still commands 10% of the older adult market. Pinterest garnered 16% of users over sixty-five and 36% of the younger online adults.

Because the thought of my Grandmother posting a selfie seems so foreign, it makes one wonder if there is a difference in use between the demographics. It seems that we all use the internet for some of the same reasons; information, education and communication. I am hopeful that I will be able to adapt to such a quickly changing world with the relative ease being shown by older generations today.


Photo Credit:


8 Social Media Statistics for 2017. (2017) Retrieved February 25, 2017 from

Global Social Media Research Summary 2017. (2017) Retrieved February 25, 2017 from

Social Media Update 2016. (2016) Retrieved February 25, 2017 from


Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism