Adults and Social Networks

iLibrarian links to a recent study that says the number of adults with online social networking profiles has quadrupled since 2005. This is relevant to a couple things I’ve noticed recently in my social networks:

  • Older family members (i.e. aunts, uncles, etc) are joining my networks. A year ago, I’d never have guess that I’d be reading my aunt Janice’s Facebook status on a regular basis.
  • There’s been a rash of old high school classmates joining Facebook recently. This has been good and bad. Good in that it’s fun to see photos of everyone’s kids. Bad in that… well… it got interesting during the Fall presidential campaign.

So, based on my own anecdotal evidence, I already knew that adults were increasingly using social networks. However, it seems that we won’t really see big increases until it becomes easier to create and/or find niche social networks.

I’m sure my aunt would join a social network for her senior center where they could talk about zumba, upcoming trips, etc… But she needs to know how to create her own local network.

My father-in-law would love a retired pilots network… but he needs to know how to find an existing network.

My graduate program desperately needs to create a social network. They’re still using an ooooooooooold school listserv as a tool for lifelong learning…

They could create new networks with Ning or Buddypress, or join existing networks. However, these tools don’t have large audiences, so most adults aren’t aware of them. Once adults learn to find or create their own social networks, these numbers will shoot through the roof.

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