It may not be news to any of us that the use of social media continues to grow. Nor is the fact that mobile acces to social media via cell phones and tablets grows faster still. What the Nielsen survey for the third quarter of 2011 demonstrates, though, is that the most interesting statistics of growth lie under the gross percentages of use. For example, more than twice as many people over 55 visited their social-media networks via a mobile phone this year than they did in 2010. Which means, in part, businesses, services, and philanthropic outreach must take into account that one of their larger markets is growing as mobile and connected as their Millennial counterparts.
Even with the growth of mobile-phone apps, accessing the internet via ‘traditional’ browsers remains a huge draw. Those over 55 who did so in the first three quarters of 2011 are up 109% from those who did so over the same period of 2010. Not surprisingly, Facebook was the overwhelmingly popular destination (46.5 million to Facebook compared to 11.4 million to Twitter).
To be sure, adoption of mobile technology is lower among Baby Boomers (young and old) than among Millennials in percentages, but the absolute numbers are striking similar because of the size of the Boomer generation.
The Boomer generation, the one that reinvented advertising and brought TV and video outreach to where they are today, is not afraid of the internet, according to looking for the means and the destinations to make it worth their while. The various SM outreaches of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is held up as a fine example of how the many guises of social media can be tailored to the Boomer and GI Generations.at Mashable.com. But its members are
More importantly still, those engaged in social media are also connected and having influence off-line as well. They are engaged in civic activities and are much more likely to be involved with political parties, local events, and/or educational opportunities. Connection to such people online, therefore, could have a striking ‘multiplier effect’ once they go out to their constituents, colleagues, and friends.
The clear move toward mobile access of all this information means businesses and nonprofits will need expert advice not only to align their messaging and presentation to mobile technologies, but also to be prepared to offer variations of their messaging and presentation to older clients, constituents, and donors. They are ready to engage with the new technology, and they will want to hear new ideas.