Posted August 25, 2009 2:32 pm by with 10 comments

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forrester logoA new report from Forrester Research, “The Broad Reach of Social Technologies,” takes a look at the growth of social over the last three years. And guess what? It’s growing!

The demographic data follows the trend we see overall—younger people are more heavily involved, but over-35s and over-55s are becoming more and more active in social networking. While 10% or less of online adults aged 18-34 are “socially inactive,” the older age ranges are showing high growth. Among adults 35-54, participation grew 60% over last year:

[N]ow more than half of adults ages 35 to 44 are in social networks. Adults ages 45 to 54 grew their Joiner behavior nearly as much, but still lag behind the 35- to 44-year-olds; 38% of those ages 45 to 54 use social network sites regularly. These consumers also increased their Creator activities to the point where one in five produce social content. With this age group including nearly 70% Spectators, marketers can now safely create social media marketing for people ages 35 and older.

And in the 55+ category, 70% of online adults use social tools monthly, while 26% use social networks.

Forrester breaks down their information based on behavioral profiles (also explained in this presentation):

Interestingly, most individual behaviors show little growth over the last three years. Only the Joiner activities (visiting social networks and maintaining a profile there) and online video showed significant growth. So while there are more people online, the overall activity profile hasn’t changed a whole lot.

What do you think? Do you see the “graying” of America in social media? Have you seen a change in social media consumption, creation or interaction over the last three years?