It’s a familiar scene for most of us: you log onto your Facebook account, and panic ensues when you see you’ve been friend requested by none other than…AN ADULT. This person could be your mom, dad, distant relative, or coworker. No matter this person’s relation to you, the following questions will probably run through your mind: Has this person somehow seen my profile already? What pictures do I have to un-tag now? How do I do that whole limited profile thing again? It’s as though your space is being invaded in a way you never saw coming. Who would have thought your mom would seriously join Facebook? Or your 60-year-old boss? Neither of them needs to see what bar you were at last weekend, or read the inside jokes splashed across your wall. So what to do now? I can think of several people who’ve censored their profiles after being friended by one of these so-called “adults” that seem to be flocking to Facebook lately.
So why the sudden spike in baby boomers on Facebook? Statistics show that baby boomers are using social networking sites as a way to network, research, or connect with old friends. Gen Y’ers, on the other hand, use them to share personal details and reach out to a large group of peers. Although the two generations are using social networking for different reasons, some say it’s beneficial to have such a wide age gap in the user base. One reason is that it varies the type of information that’s distributed. Also, baby boomers may have a thing or two to teach Gen Y’ers about online safety. Gen Y’ers are much more likely than other age groups to divulge personal info on the web, which could lead to potentially harmful situations. At the very least, it could be fun teaching the old folks proper Facebook etiquette, and watching them attempt to seem hip with the times. So although it initially feels like baby boomers are crashing the Facebook party, it might not be so bad after all. In fact, it could be a great way to bridge the gap and bring us all together.