If you don’t use Twitter yourself, you surely have heard about it in the news. It has played a major role in many world events, ranging from political scandals on the home front to civil unrest abroad. One thing you are probably unaware of is Twitter’s growing popularity among older adults.
In August 2010, Pew Internet published a report by Mary Madden, entitled “Older Adults and Social Media.” One of the findings concerned Twitter:
…The use of status update services like Twitter has also grown — particularly among those ages 50-64. One in ten internet users ages 50 and older now say they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.
I can’t wait to see what the numbers for 2011 look like once they are collated. I’m sure that many more seniors have found their way to Twitter over the past year.
Stephanie Georgopulos, a writer whose work has been featured in Gizmodo, among other places, compiled a list on The Next Web of her favorite tweeters over the age of 65. Not surprisingly, the formidable Joan Rivers is high on her list:
Joan has certainly earned her 479K+ followers — she’s hilarious. And she ‘gets it’ — after sending a birthday shout out to a fan and receiving a ton of ‘Happy Birthday, Joan!’ tweets in response; she followed up with, ‘Some people may need a refresher course in Twitter.’ Indeed. When Joan’s not tweeting about her day-to-day (‘No — I have NO CLUE who the man is standing behind Helen and me. Fan? Stalker? Single???’), she’s commenting on fellow celebrities — even going as far as to tweet as Lindsay Lohan from behind bars briefly during her 2010 stint in prison. I wonder if Lockdown Lindsay will make an encore appearance?
Georgopulos provides a wonderful list of senior tweeters that includes R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, as well as a number of dishonorable mentions for those who use the medium to broadcast rather than connect, such as Martha Stewart.
Twitter is obviously not just for the young. Ms. Rivers stands as a shining example to those who think otherwise.
I’d also recommend using “hashtags.” Basically, a hashtag is a word or acronym with a “#” at the beginning that helps categorize tweets. Currently, some popular hashtags among seniors are #healthcare, #boomers, and #retirement. Hashtags allow you to tag your tweet so people can search for it more easily. When you are using Twitter and see one that interests you, just click on it. You will then see a window with all the tweets containing the hashtag.
This is a great way not only to find information, but also find interesting discussions online. After all, it is social media!
Source: “Early birds, early adopters: The best seniors on Twitter,” The Next Web, 05/24/11
Source: “No Age Barriers in Facebook,” AARP Bulletin, 07/01/11
Image: Screen capture of Joan Rivers’ Twitter, Fair Use: Reporting.