Blurring the Digital Divide

The dominance of Generation Y when it comes to technology and social networking is continuing to diminish, particularly as older generations increasingly engage in online activities, a new report suggests.

The latest report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that the number of people using social networking websites has nearly doubled since 2008 and the population of those on social networks has gotten older. For example, 79 percent of American adults said they use the Internet, and nearly half (47 percent) of adults said they use at least one social networking website. The average age of adult social networking users has shifted from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010, and more than half of all adult social networking users are now over the age of 35, the study found.

Facebook dominates adult social networking use, holding 92 percent of social networking users, followed by MySpace (29 percent), LinkedIn (18 percent) and Twitter (13 percent). The most popular activities on Facebook on an average day are: "Like" another user's content (26 percent), commenting on another's post or status (22 percent), commenting on another user's photos (20 percent) and updating one's own status (15 percent).

The study's findings also contested claims that social networking isolates people and truncates their relationships. For example, Internet users are more than twice as likely as others to feel that people can be trusted, and those using Facebook were even more likely to be trusting. Facebook users also average 9 percent more close ties with friends than other Internet users, and reported higher levels of total support, emotional support and companionship than those who do not use social networking websites.

What are your thoughts on the study as it applies to your federal agency? How have your thoughts about technology and generational divides in the workplace changed in recent years, if at all?