While social networking is now a normal part of the online experience, it took most of us a while to warm up to what initially seemed to be an invitation to privacy invasion. Boomers, too, are now flocking to social media sites, and the growth potential the boomer demographic represents has certainly caught the eye of social media companies.
Our daily social proximity to others seems to shrink as we move from school to the workforce, and then from the workforce to the home. Social media has made it possible not only to almost instantly connect to friends, classmates and colleagues from the past, but also to develop a widening ring of social contacts through the bond of shared interests or simply by virtue of being a friend-of-a-friend.
While younger adults are the most likely to use social networking sites, boomers as a whole now represent the fastest-growing demographic among social network sites, and about half of all boomers regularly use social networking sites [source: Pew].
Use of social networking by younger boomers increased 30 percent between December 2008 and May 2010, while older boomers increased their use of social networking by 34 percentage points [source: Pew].
Though many boomers register on social networking sites initially as a way to see the most recent photographs of the grandkids, boomers soon expand their own online social network and discover benefits outside of sharing family photos.
We've come a long way when it comes to communicating by phone, as we'll discuss next.