Not a ‘Kids Only’ club

Chart of social networking use by age
Chart illustrating Flowtown's findings.

Put away the embarrassing party photos; our parents have discovered Facebook.

The average Facebook user is 38 years old, and the average Twitter user is 39 years old, according to a study released in September 2010 by Flowtown, a social media marketing website.

Social networking among older Internet users showed the highest percentages of growth from 2009 to 2010, with a 27 percent increase in social networking use among Internet users ages 30 to 49 and 88 percent growth in Internet users ages 50 to 64.  The 50-to-64-year-old age group also showed a 120 percent growth in Internet users that tweet.

Though the 18 to 29 year olds only showed 13 percent growth in social networking usage, it remains the age group where the Internet users are most likely to use social networking, at 86 percent usage. The 30 to 49 year old age group was in second place, with 61 percent of Internet users reporting that they used social networking.

Figuring in margin of error, email usage appeared almost even among Internet users from 18 to 64, with the three age groups reporting at least 60 percent usage and users 65 and older reporting 55 percent.

A 2010 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed similar statistics in social networking growth. The center also speculated as to why this growth is occurring, citing reasons from more access to high-speed Internet to online support for illnesses to connecting with the past and bridging generational gaps.

“There are few other spaces—online or offline—where tweens, teens, sandwich generation members, grandparents, friends and neighbors regularly intersect and communicate across the same network,” the report, titled Older Adults and Social Media, said.

This means you might want to hide the embarrassing photos, before mom and dad start posting those potty-training pics.

See the chart here.  See Pew Internet’s report here.