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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Social networking isn't only for the under 40s. More than 25 percent of Americans 50 years and older stay connected using sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, according to new research.
And nearly half of older adults, aged 50 to 64, say they are savvy about the Internet.
"The latest data tells us that more and more, social networking is becoming a part of everyday life for Americans 50 plus, and boomers in particular," said Kevin Donnellan, the chief communications officer at AARP, which released the report.
The powerful lobbying group for older Americans said Facebook is by far the most popular networking site, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Nearly a quarter of older Americans are on Facebook and 73 percent said they use it to stay in touch with relatives, but not just their children and grandchildren.
"They are using the Internet to keep up with the world and the people who are important to them," said Jean Koppen, the author of the report.
She added that older adults are also on Facebook to stay connected, not only with their family, but with their friends and peers.
Almost 50 percent of older adults were introduced to the social networking sites by a family member, mainly a child or grandchild.
"Just under one-fifth of adults age 50 and older say they do not use the Internet," according to the report.
The findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,863 adults. In addition to keeping up on Facebook and Twitter older adults are also aware of the latest technology.
Eighty-three percent had heard about the Apple iPad and 11 percent intended to buy one, mainly for browsing the web, reading news, magazines and books and for sharing photos and watching movies and TV shows.
Despite the popularity of the Internet among the over 50s, print newspapers and magazines are still their preferred source for news. Only one percent said they followed blogs.
The full report can be found on www.AARP.org/socialmediasurvey.