US adults 50 and older have increased their social networking use from 22% to 42% in the past year, according to data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Half of Adults 50-64 Use SocNets
Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one in four (26%) users age 65 and older now use social networking sites.

Young adult internet users ages 18-29 continue to be the heaviest users of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, with 86% saying they use the sites.

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Adults 65 and Up Double SocNet Adoption
During the past year, the growth of social networking adoption among internet users ages 18-29 paled in comparison with the gains made by older users. Between April 2009 and May 2010, internet users ages 50-64 who said they use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn grew 88%, and those ages 65 and older grew 100% in their adoption of the sites; compared with a growth rate of 13% for those ages 18-29.

Older Adults Increasingly Share Daily Updates
The use of Twitter and other services to share status updates has also grown among older users, most notably among those ages 50-64. While just 5% of users ages 50-64 had used Twitter or another status update service in 2009, 11% now say they use these tools. On a typical day, 6% of online adults ages 50-64 make Twitter a part of their routine, up from the 1% who did so in 2009.

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One in five (20%) adults ages 50-64 say they use social networking sites on a typical day, up from 10% one year ago. Likewise, 13% of online adults ages 65 and older log on to social networking sites, compared with just 4% who did so in 2009.

Older Adults Maintain Interest in Email, Online News
Overall, 92% of those ages 50-64 and 89% of those ages 65 and older send or read email and more than half of each group exchanges email messages on a typical day. Online news gathering also ranks highly in the daily media habits of older adults; 76% of internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.

Americans Get News on Multiple Platforms
The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, according to other recent findings from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Americans get their news from a combination of on- and offline sources, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

About the Data: The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project surveyed 2,252 US adults 18 and older between April 29-May 30, 2010.

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