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Baby Boomers on Facebook

Facebook is arguably the most popular social networking web site in the world. Like other social networking sites, it connects users with their friends, families, friends of friends and acquaintances near and far, until a vast network has been made for a single individual.

Facebook.com

Users can also join groups with the same interests such as high school, workplace, and many more. Games and other interesting applications are available. Virtually anything can be shared within your network -- pictures, notes, passive aggressive status messages, and the like. From how it’s generally described, it’s the perfect pastime for the average 20-year-old college student procrastinating in a dorm room.

So why does the site’s report show that people born in the 50’s and 60’s are the fastest growing age group in its membership ranks? Has Facebook somehow done the impossible: bridge the age gap between kids and their parents? What could Facebook possibly have that could interest a generation that uses the Internet mainly for emails?

For one, Facebook is undoubtedly a great way to reconnect with old friends. When you’re a Baby Boomer, chances are that you’ve only kept in touch with a chosen few of your high school class. After all, you've been busy raising kids and climbing the corporate ladder; you haven't had the time until now. Facebook allows you to build a network and will even recommend people you may know to you. It’s a way to bond with people you haven’t seen in 25-35 years -- and no matter how old you are, that’s a fascinating thing.  It can be like a virtual high school reunion, only you don't have to lose weight and buy a new dress.

Some parents use Facebook to keep an eye on their kids. The web site’s feature that allows users to upload their current status gives mom an idea about what her son was doing yesterday. It’s also a way for dad and daughter to get to know each other if they don't get the chance to spend much time together.  Or they can find some common interests to bond over like with favorite movies. Sometimes, there’s more information than you’d care to know but it’s a good way to check that your kids are still okay while they're away at college.

Facebook also offers a feature that’s very useful with organizations and communities. Users can join a group that gets updated by a moderator -- a helpful tool that can keep book clubs, church organizations, and other groups in touch with the latest news or reunions. Business-minded boomers usually take advantage of this facility to maintain a small business by keeping their customers up to date with their latest products or services.

So while the two generations aren’t necessarily bonding the way they do with friends their own age, it is still a step forward. Facebook has given them a common platform where they can coexist. Who knows what great feats in the near future will push the gap closer together?

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New to Facebook? Here are some useful references to get you started:

How to Get Started on Facebook

Tutorial: Getting Started on Facebook

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