According to Inside Facebook, an independant blog for industry analysts and online marketers, women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic on the social networking site Facebook. A recent study indicates that the WWII generation is most likely to use a social networking site (SNS) for the purpose of staying in touch with friends and family. 30% of the older users of SNS are there "for fun" vs. 61% of Gen Y (15-29 year olds). 90% of SNS users from the WWII generation use Facebook vs. other sites like MySpace or Twitter.

So what do older users of SNS think? I had a conversation with my mom Nickie, a Facebook newbie and 80 year old great-grandmother.

 What prompted you to join Facebook, Mom?

Nickie: One of my grandchildren insisted I join in and I felt flattered. She set me up remotely which was amazing to me.

How often do you log in?

Nickie: Not very often, mostly because I feel awkward about getting in. I think I just need more practice and to take my time.

In what ways do you use Facebook? I do a little chatting and more reading others’ comments.

What’s been your biggest surprise about Facebook?

Nickie: The amount of communicating others do. Facebook for the most part seems to be surface communication without depth. Facebook vs. face time? Yes. But, on the other hand, those away from their friends or family, must appreciate the link to others without having to write an out and out letter or make a phone call.

Do you anticipate more friends of your generation hopping aboard?

Nickie: I really don’t think so. I think those who use email, really enjoy & prefer it.

In general, how do you feel about the role of communication technology (computers, cell phones) in your life and in society? They are all very useful, but I do believe they are not used wisely by many, many people. Even when communication with others in-person is available, many seem to withdraw and concentrate on the device at hand. It seems almost like an obsession.

How did you celebrate your 80th birthday, Mom?

Nickie: I took my first hip-hop class. And I’m so glad I did! It was great fun.     

~Helen Rickman