You’ve got a ‘Facebook’ friend…


By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor

A television ad that has run frequently in past months features “Beatrice,” an older woman who doesn’t quite get the concept of how Facebook works. Beatrice tells her two friends that she “posted” her vacation pictures on her “wall,” the term used when putting items on your personal Facebook page. In reality, she put physical copies of her photos on a wall in her home.

“I saved a ton of time, and it was so quick, much like my car insurance,” she tells her friends.

After one of the women tells her she got a better deal on insurance in half the time, Beatrice tells her she is going to “unfriend” her.

“That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works!” her friend exclaims, clearly exasperated.

Although this ad is meant to be humorous, in actuality, more and more people over the age of 50 are joining Facebook each year. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of men who go online and 76 percent of women who do so join Facebook. Younger people, 18-29, are still the biggest users, followed by 82 percent of those aged 30-42; 65 percent of those aged 50-64; and 49 percent of those aged 65 and over.

For the older generation, Facebook has become a way to keep connected with family and friends, especially if they do not live nearby. It’s also an easy way to reconnect with those friends, colleagues and classmates that you may have lost touch with. And for those that worry that they will lose their privacy, there’s a simple way to retain it – just ignore a friend request of someone you don’t want to stay in touch with. (And for those friends or acquaintances whose requests you wish you didn’t accept, just “unfriend,” them, as Beatrice attempted to do.)

Not as many people over age 50 use Twitter – just 12 percent of those between 50 and 64 and 10 percent of those 65 and over. Eleven percent of people ages 50-64 use Instagram while only 6 percent of those age 65 and over do so. Thirty percent of ages 50-64 use LinkedIn, which is more of a business networking site than Facebook, while 21 percent over 65 use it, according to Pew.

The most popular search tool after Google? That would be YouTube, which many find a valuable asset to find out how to do things, listen to music, watch old television clips or just enjoy humorous videos.