Study: Baby Boomers Love Social Networks Too

The widely known maxim is that if parents like what the kids are listening to, it’s time for the kids to ditch that music and move on. So what happens when mom requests you as a friend on Facebook?

The notion is not inconceivable, according to a new Entertainment Trends in America study by The NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y. Social networking sites used by teenagers and young adults are also being adopted by baby boomers (aged 44-61). The findings show that 41% of baby boomers have visited social networks, such as MySpace or Facebook, and 61% have been to sites with streaming or downloadable video.

The study, which surveyed 11,600 consumers online, also found that over 57% of Web users overall have stopped at social networking sites in the past three months. Baby boomers stopped on average of eight times in that period.

“There is an older demographic that is shifting over the youth-centric things on the Web,” said Doug Akin, evp-brand development at Mr. Youth, New York. “There is a humor to having one’s mom as a Facebook friend in some circles. But it’s not actually cool for most people.”

He noted that few brands that cater to an older crowd have made a My Space page or a Facebook presence mandatory, somewhat of a miscue.

NPD’s findings confirm what many marketers already know: “Younger brands” like Apple and Red Bull have paved the way, and now “older brands” must realize that there’s a more mainstream approach to reaching all types of consumers, said Akin.