The average 22-year-old in the U.K. boasts more than 1,000 online friends – more than 50 times as many as people in their early 50s, according to a new social networking study by international consumer research specialist Intersperience.
The research highlighted a clear link between age and the number of people social media users has registered as online friends, with evidence emerging that currently people hit the peak of social media popularity in their 20s.
The study found that younger teenagers, aged 13 to 16, have an average of 450 social network friends, with girls having slightly more online friends than boys. This compares to people in their 30s who have on average of between 100 and 200 friends, people in their 40s who have between 50 and 100 and over-50s who have fewer than 20. I am starting to feel real old.
The study underscores the fundamental changes taking place in British society as a result of finally entering the Digital Age. Half the U.K. population is on Facebook now and the explosion in social networking activity is blurring lines. In a social media context, a ‘friend’ means something different to a 20 year old than to a 50 year old.
“Social networking activity is just one example of how different groups are adapting to the Digital Age at different paces,” says Intersperience Chief Executive Paul Hudson. “In this case, age is the determining factor – however in other instances it is not. Our research shows consumers are regrouping on different lines, with a willingness and ability to master technology emerging as a key factor in determining how well individuals adapt to the Digital Age.”