The ever popular Facebook social networking site has grown tremendously this year for a new group of people: the “baby boomers”. A study from eMarketer.com, published in July of this year, showed how different generations are using Facebook. Sixty-two percent of baby boomer users have Facebook to keep in touch with friends, and 47% of them “to keep in touch with family”. (This chart can be found: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/07/30/new-study-shows-how-different-generations-use-facebook/).
While Myspace is still the first choice for musicians who want to broadcast their music, Facebook is the ultimate social network, for all ages. I believe it has become so popular because of the use of real first and last names, instead of an anonymous Myspace username, allowing for accurate friend searches. In the beginning, one had to have an e-mail address from a college or university to join. I remember getting ready to go to college and the excitement of getting my e-mail address so that I could follow my best friend’s advice: “You need to get a Facebook, Kristin.” At first it was an annoyance to get one since I already had Myspace, but it helped me meet people freshman year and went on to completely revolutionize everyone’s college experience.
Now, anyone can have a Facebook and belong to any school, city, or company network. Recently, my mom, who belongs to the baby boomer generation, had me set up a Facebook account for her. Not to be my friend, but to find old friends from high school and college. While setting it up, she was able to see a list of people she “may know” from high school and college, which excited her to no end. People she hadn’t talked to in years showed up in a picture icon, and it thrilled her. “Oh, I went to a Grand Funk Railroad concert with him! He looks so different!” she exclaimed. It was truly an experience just to watch her find people who she would otherwise never have spoken to again.
Now, this older generation can forget as we have about the days where phone calls, letters, and even e-mails connected families and friends through pictures and messages. It is a small world, after all, especially now. It takes seconds to log on and get updates, sometimes without even directly messaging or communicating with one another. To call this revolutionary is truly an understatement. I am glad to keep in touch over Facebook with people I graduated high school with, even as a senior in college. So, I can only imagine how my parents’ generation of users must feel.
My mom now has about ten friends and checks her account once a week, but it amazes her every time. Getting a wall post makes her day, like a child at Christmas. I add photos for her and her friends comment. It is a great new aspect of this generation’s lives. We can’t even imagine not having Facebook to get us through college, to see people we know graduate and move on from college via pictures and posts. But the new generation on Facebook must catch up, and they are, quite quickly.