Forty is the new Twenty, Fifty is the new Thirty, and so on. This year is seeing an unmistakable and much needed change in the perception towards the aged and ageing. Last week in The New York Times Magazine’s 9th Annual Year in Ideas, alongside Massively Collaborative Mathematics (Using a blog and blog comments to solve complicated equations…where was Google Wave when they needed it!), and The Google Algorithm as Extinction Model (Google, saving the world, once again) was a short piece entitled The Myth of the Deficient Older Person.
The tides are finally turning for older employees, perhaps too late for the thousands who have recently found themselves laid off and brushed off in the interview process (ask my father, who spent two years searching for an upper management position in technology. He recently retired instead). One more reason I’m glad the tides are turning? I’m tired of hearing my friends complaining about their parents being on Facebook. I doubt they’ll be part of the set who spends half their day updating their status while their bosses look on. IStrategy Networks reported that the month of August saw a 25% percent jump in users over 55. You can’t help but think that a huge chunk of a valuable workforce is wasting its talents on Facebook (not that mine aren’t)…
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On Friday www.AllFacebook.com reported that Facebook has now surpassed 325 million users, in fact, more users than the United States has citizens (304 million as of the 2008 census reports). Facebook itself reports that over 70% of its users are outside the US, not surprising when you consider that only approximately 21% of US citizens have a passport and in my own personal experience I have found travel to be the quickest way to make new friends and Facebook the best way to keep up with those new friends and the ones I have stateside.
The United Kingdom gained the most new users of any European country last month, with 1.98 million new people using the site. It continues to be the single largest country for Facebook on the continent, with 22.6 million monthly active users. Behind the three Scandinavian countries mentioned, it has the fourth-highest-penetration rate, at 36.9%. Meanwhile, France and Italy both grew by more than a million users, with Turkey, Spain and Germany close behind.
Meanwhile Facebook gained more than 2 million new people across Latin America and the Caribbean in September to reach 35.4 million monthly active users.
Facebook also reports that its fastest growing demographic is in users over 35, and Istrategylabs.com reports that in the 6 month period ending July 4th, 2009 Facebook saw a 513% growth in 55+ year old users. Being a hair’s breath away from 38 myself, I’ve found in the last year and a half I have had a decreasing amount of conversations with friends who claim they are ‘too old for Facebook’, and of those who have joined of late, they certainly get their Facebook on in your average day. I suppose the question becomes where’s the ceiling? I guess we’ll see.
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