Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Online networking not just for kids

Social networking sites are attracting not only teenages nowadays but people who are much older too. An analyst say that older people, the baby boomers who have the time and money to spend, are the future of social networking. From Newsweek:
Forget teen haunt Xanga and college-student staple Facebook. Online social networking isn't just for youngsters anymore. Of course, only 1 million of the more than 215 million social networkers regularly active today are older than 50. But by the end of the year that number could explode to 20 million, says a new study from global analysts Deloitte, due out later this month. Silver surfers could prove to be an even more coveted online group than their teenage predecessors. "They're the future of social networking," says Paul Lee, director of technology research at Deloitte.

The rise of boomer networkers has something to do with the teenage market's reaching saturation. In Ireland, for instance, 90 percent of teenagers already actively use Bebo; in the United States, it's hard to find a college student without a MySpace page. To expand, networking sites are being forced to shift their focus to older users. "Future growth has to come from older people," says Bebo founder Michael Birch. "There's no choice."

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