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How Age Influences Social Media Preferences

Learn about the statistics behind how age impacts the way in which social media is used across the U.S.

If you’ve ever heard a teenager say, “Ugh, Facebook is for old people,” you already know that social media preference has an age component. But if you look at the data, you’ll see that social media use isn’t as simple as “old people use this, young people use that.” Below, we outline some of the statistics surrounding how age influences specific social media preferences.

Most Americans Use Social Media

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of Americans use some form of social media.1 In other words, social media is in common use across age groups.

How Age Influences Social Media Preferences

Younger Age Groups Are Becoming Less Dominant Within Social Media

At the advent of social media, Pew routinely found that younger Americans (ages 18–29) were significantly more likely to use social media. Now, Pew’s data shows the gap has significantly narrowed. Nearly 80% of 30- to 49-year-olds and nearly 65% of 50- to 64-year-olds also use social media, as compared to 88% of 18- to 29-year-olds. And while only 37% of those ages 65 and older use social media, their numbers are growing.

The Changing Facebook Market

According to Pew, Facebook is the most used social media platform, regardless of age. However, that doesn’t tell the whole social media story. While 81% of 18- to 29-year-olds use Facebook, that age group also uses many other social media platforms. And they use them at rates far exceeding the use rates of other age groups. For instance, 64% of 18- to 29-year-olds use Instagram and 40% use Twitter. Among older age groups, none comes close to breaking 50% for Instagram use or 30% for Twitter use.

In addition, there is evidence that Facebook is losing ground among younger Americans even as it gains popularity with older Americans. A recent Gallup survey found Facebook use among 18- to 29-year-olds has dropped 2% since 2011 while increasing 8% among 30- to 49-year-olds, 18% among 50- to 64-year-olds, and 14% among those over 65.2

Technology, Like Social Media, Is Here to Stay

Regardless of age, one thing is for certain: Social media has changed the way we think about information technology. Technology that was once confined to large glass rooms now fits in the palm of our hand. It’s portable, it’s instant, and it’s constantly getting smarter. With so many people using social media across age groups, it’s unlikely that it is going anywhere.

But as recent data shows, social media preferences aren’t uniform and could continue to diversify in the coming years. This will inevitably create new challenges and opportunities for information technology enterprises, social media companies, and the businesses that use both for promotion and advertising.

Advance Your Career by Earning Your IT Degree, Business Degree, or Management Degree at Walden University

If you want to seize opportunities as they arise, Walden offers several degree paths that can help you gain the knowledge and skills you’ll need. On the information technology side, a Master of Information Systems Management (MISM) can give you business-infused tech know-how to evaluate and allocate information technology resources effectively, design and manage systems to meet key organizational objectives, and lead IT initiatives and teams across functional areas in diverse organizations. On the business side, an MS in Marketing can prepare you to leverage the power of social media for marketing purposes, while a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can give you the strategic skills you’ll need to help manage a social media company or a company with a serious social media presence.

And at Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your degree online while you continue to work full time. That means you can better maintain a work-life balance while you develop the tools and competencies to excel in your field and stand out in the job market. With online education, there’s no need to completely rearrange your schedule or commute to campus—you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you work to earn your degree and further your career.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Information Systems Management, MS in Marketing, and Master of Business Administration degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,