And seniors are getting more comfortable with the Web. Another Pew Research Center study last fall showed social networking among Internet users age 50 and up had nearly doubled — from 22 percent to 42 percent — between April 2009 and May 2010.
“Young adults continue to be the heaviest users of social media, but their growth pales in comparison with recent gains made by older users,” said Mary Madden, Pew senior research specialist and author of the report.
Among adults age 65 and up, 13 percent log on to social networking sites on a typical day, compared with just 4 percent who did so in 2009, the report said.
One in 10 Internet users age 50 and older said they use Twitter or another service to share updates about themselves or see updates about others.
From Cyril to cyberworld
Bill Patterson, who helped install a computer network in Cyril Public Schools in 1982, revels in technology. He wears a gadget around his neck that connects his iPhone to his hearing aids via Bluetooth. He thinks technology could be boon for many seniors, although he understands that many won't take the time to learn new skills.
“Us old folks, we don't change easy. We say, ‘I like change, but you go first,'” he said. “A lot of folks are set in their ways.”
Despite Bill's prompting, his mother isn't going to set aside her newspaper. But he's not giving up.
“They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. But you can sure salt their oats,” he said.