According to a report released yesterday by Nielsen Online (download PDF). social networks and blogs have become the fourth most popular online destinations. And, gasp, the report lists e-mail as No. 5 on the list of users' preferred online tools. (Although this report from Hitwise finds that visits to gmail surpassed YouTube)
There's been growth in older segments, most notably the 35-49 segment:
As an entity moves from being niche to a major player the
composition, or make-up, of its audience changes. Social networks
online started out amongst the younger audience. However, as the
networks have become more mainstream with the passage of time, it isn’t
surprising to see the audience becoming broader and older. This shift
has primarily been driven by Facebook, whose successful formula opened
up the possibilities of social networking to a much wider audience.
In terms of sheer audience numbers, for example, the greatest growth for Facebook has come from people aged 35-49 years of age (+24.1 million). Furthermore, Facebook has added almost twice as many 50-64 year olds visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million).
Consequently, people under 18 years old are making up less of the social network and blogging audience, whereas the 50+ age group are accounting for more of the audience.
In an article from CW, there is a quote from the study's author:
For more reports on the aging of social networks, see "How Your Nonprofit Can Reach Babyboomers With Social Media"
What are the implications for your nonprofit organization's social networking strategy?