A recent study by comScore unveiled that one third of Facebook's users and 41 percent of MySpace's users are aged between 35 and 54:
The idea that social networking appeals only to younger internet users is a misconception. In fact, the growing population of over-50s online is encouraging the development of new social networking sites that cater specifically for this older audience. Sites like MyChumsClub (mychumsclub.com) and Saga Zone (www2.saga.co.uk/sagazone), both launched this week, are over-50s-only online communities that offer friendships and, in the case of MyChumsClub, the opportunity to safely meet new cyber friends in the real world. Andrew Thatcher who, on facing the boredom of retirement, decided to start MyChumsClub, thinks that his site is Facebook without the risk, and offers an antidote to retirement.
"Old people lose around half their social network when they leave work. This gives them a chance to find it again. We organise foreign trips and other activities so that people can meet each other in the real world," says Thatcher. "Older users have similar privacy needs to children under 15: they need protecting from exploitation. Facebook is not somewhere to meet people, it’s a place to keep in touch with people you already know. We have a strict vetting process, so you know that you’re safe from unscrupulous emails."