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Turning On to Social Networking

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By Allan Holmes August 27, 2010

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Older Americans are quickly becoming avid users of social media - something their children are sure to be embarrassed about.

The percentage of Internet users 50 years old and older who say they use social networking tools and sites nearly doubled from 22 percent in April 2009 to 42 percent in May 2010, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. For those 65 and older, social-networking use jumped from 13 percent to 26 percent.

Social networking is still a young person's game, however, Pew reports. About 86 percent of 18 to 29 year olds partake in social networking, more than double the 50 and older crowd's rate. That oh-so-20th-century e-mail is the primary method the old crowd uses to maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, said Mary Madden, senior research specialist at Pew and author of the report.

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