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Baby Boomers Among Fastest Growing Groups Going Online

Kevin Meerschaert

65-year old Janet Chamberlin likes to use Facebook. She uses it to keep up with friends and relatives, check out the latests news, and read messages from local businesses she frequents.

Chamberlin is among the growing number of Baby Boomers who are signing on to social media. She lives in Jacksonville but used to live in Utah, and uses Facebook to keep in touch with her old friends.

"Most of the friends I have (on Facebook) are the ones I started with," she says. "They're people I worked with back in Utah, so we've stayed friends on Facebook so I keep up with them."

She says without Facebook she wouldn't be able to keep in contact with them.

Once thought to be the domain of only young people, social media is becoming more and more the place where Boomers electronically congregate.  

Jacksonville University Associate Professor AnneMarie Kent-Willette said Baby Boomers are part of the fastest growing demographic venturing on-line.

"It's really interesting to think that something like Facebook that was designed originally as almost an intranet for a very specific college, and then has bloomed out from there," says Kent-Willette. "While the Boomers were not the early adopters, they do continue to represent a significant opportunity for growth with social media."

Advertisers have taken notice of this too.

"This significant part of the population that is moving toward retirement have time to spend on social media," continues Kent-Willette. She says they also have more disposable income and free time, making them ideal targets since social media can be used to narrowly target Baby Boomers with online ads.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.