a “Facebook for Old People?” Now *there’s* a crappy idea

A mean-spirited Technology Review piece about a new Pew Internet study reports that “Social networking is for the young.” Compare that to the title of the survey itself: “65% of online adults use social networking sites.”

The “Boomer-aged segment” of users (ages 50-64) grew the fastest — up 60% (from 20% to 32%) in just one year. This marks the first time that half of US adults are using social networks such as Facebook, Myspace or LinkedIn. The percentage drops with increasing age, with “the oldest users still far less likely to be making regular use of these tools,” according to report co-author Mary Madden. Making no mention of users over 65, Technology Review sees a business opportunity in designing a “Facebook for Old People” that would be “foolproof” and “easy to use.” “Apparently genuine connection will have to wait for a more advanced technology,” writes Christopher Mims.

How about a more advanced attitude? Why couldn’t (much) older people learn to use Facebook as is? And why on Earth would they want to be ghettoized into into a network for the old alone?