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Facebook Trending Older

March 27, 2014, 10:03 PM by Matt Holsen

Facebook Trending Older

Facebook recently celebrated its tenth birthday and as the social network gets older, so does its demographic. It used to be parents opened up Facebook accounts just to keep an eye on their kids, but those same parents are now hooked themselves.

'Like' it or not, Facebook is getting older in more ways than one. What started out as an exclusive network for college students is now the place to be for anyone over 25.

Jeri Reisdorfer joined in 2007, although the Minnesotan and grandmother was skeptical at first.

Matt: When you first started hearing about Facebook was it something that you were like, oh, let's get on it right away?
Jeri: Absolutely not. A big waste of time. I only did because my youngest said, 'Aw, come on mom, you got to get on.'

That connection to family eventually took over. In the beginning, her activity on Facebook was limited, but in 2014 it's a big part of her day. 

"According to my husband, my whole day," Reisdorfer said.

Reisdorfer is among the age group that has seen the most growth in the past three years. According to iStrategyLabs, U.S. users 55 and up went from 15.5 million in 2011 to 28 million in 2014.

"Surprisingly, that greater than 55 age category is up 80-percent in the last three years. While the teen demographic is slowly fading away, the older is really embracing Facebook and jumping in," Digital Market Director at 44 Interactive Wade Humphreys said.

Humphreys doesn't think the boost in baby boomers is a bad thing for Facebook. He does, however, know the social network is doing all it can to stay young and relevant. Facebook users ages 13-17 are down 25 percent in the last three years and users ages 25-34 are down 7.5 percent.

"You know that's why they went out and bought WhatsApp, which for a lot of people, they don't even know what that is. It's had faster growth than even Facebook. It has more users today than even Twitter," Humphreys said.

WhatsApp is a popular messaging app for mobile devices. By purchasing other companies like WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook is fighting to stay in the mix.

Currently 128 million of the network's nearly 180 million U.S. users are over the age of 25. With families and friends spread all over these days, being able to connect easily with loved ones is a big reason for the older crowd.

"Oldest son and family live in New York state and I have friends in Ecuador. I have friends who just came home from Thailand. So, it's all over the world and all over the United States," Reisdorfer said.

"You can't get together with everyone all the time anymore, so as far as being able to share pictures and still stay connected, it's a great a way to bring friends and family together on a more consistent basis," Humphreys said.

And that feature should keep Facebook consistently on top for years to come.

Current college and high schoolers using Facebook are also down. In the past three years, each category saw a 60-percent decrease.

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