How Do Boomers and Seniors Use the Internet?

By Marilynne Rudick on January 13, 2011

If you’re like most over50s, you’re a heavy user of e-mail, search engines and government websites. You go to the web to get news, health and travel information. And you go to shop. If you use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely you’ve signed up in the past year, part of the rising tide of networked boomers and seniors.

According to a report Older Adults and Social Media (Pew Internet and American Life Project), over50s are the fastest growing social media demographic. Social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older nearly doubled from 22% in April 2009 to 42% in May 2010.

How does that compare to other generations?  Pew reports that internet users ages 18-29 continue to be the heaviest users of social networking, with 86% saying they use Facebook and other social networks.

it’s not surprising that AARP reports in Social Media and Technology Use Among Adults 50+ that 63% of those over 50 who use social networking say they were introduced to it by a younger generation: their son or daughter. What may surprise you is Pew’s finding that once over50s join social networks, they incorporate it into their online life. Of adults 50-64, 20% say they use social networking on a typical day.

Most Over50s Prefer E-Mail to Twitter

Pew reports that the use of Twitter has more than doubled among boomers ages 50-64 from 5% in 2009 to 11% in 2010. But it still lags far behind e-mail, used by 92% of those over 50.

How Else Do Over50s Use the Web?

Pew reports that over50s are heavy users of search engines, government websites, financial information, e-commerce, and travel sites. Increasingly, they watch videos.

Over50s are news junkies, with online news vying with TV news and newspapers as their news source. According to Pew, 76% of Internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among Internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.

What Over50s Don’t Do Online

Over50s don’t spend a lot of time playing games or visiting virtual worlds. They are less likely to use mobile devices to connect with the Internet than younger adults (Pew). Over50s are less likely to send instant messages (only 30% of those ages 46-55 compared to 66% of ages 18-33).

How Do You Compare?

How does your Internet use compare to  over50s surveyed by Pew and AARP? Are you among the 58% of over50s who don’t use social networks? If so, put social networking on your list of 2011 resolutions.

Take a look at

Learn More

For more information about how over50s use the Internet, see these reports

Categories: E-Mail & Messaging, Research, Social Networking, Uncategorized


  • Since my daughter put “touch logo” on my desktop I find all the pages I need
    I have my 2 banks there, eBay, amazon, Fox News and more and more.

    Posted by: Mildred on January 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

  • Hi Marilynne,

    I think what is really interesting is at a time when overall interest in social networks has been in marginal decline, membership of some of them from those aged over 50’s has been increasing, in the UK at least. See this article below..

    Posted by: Oscar from Annuity City on June 2, 2012 at 9:00 am

  • […] obecności seniorów w Internecie poświęcono cały blog WebOver50, któremu towarzyszy chwytliwe hasło „The web is wasted on the young”. W podsumowaniu […]

    Posted by: Nieatrakcyjne grupy docelowe? — Blog Enzo on May 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

  • Daniel,
    Thanks for your comments about LinkedIn and sharing your profile. I think it is a valuable business tool, too. I wrote a post about it: LinkedIn: Strictly Business, but I’d like to write other posts about it. Would you like to share advice about how Over50s can use it? I’d also like to write about how to write a great LinkedIn profile. I’ve discovered that many people find writing the profile daunting. Are you up for an e-mail interview?

    Anyone else like to contribute LinkedIn advice?

    Posted by: Marilynne Rudick on January 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

  • Per previous comment – the link unfortunately was not published. Here it is;

    Posted by: Daniel Watson on January 14, 2011 at 4:22 am

  • Like a lot of Over 50 professional business people, I make extensive use of LinkedIn. I find it invaluable for making business connections, and accessing great resources to assist both myself and my clients to improve their business outcomes here in wet Melbourne Australia.

    I would highly recommend anyone over 50 who is still in business or who has an extensive business background which would enable them to help others to become a LinkedIn member.

    The web address below is my completed LinkedIn profile, which demonstrates how to properly construct a profile, if you seriously want to benefit from involvement with LinkedIn.

    Don’t let this put you off, it has taken me a long while to get it to this level!!

    Posted by: Daniel Watson on January 14, 2011 at 4:20 am

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