Social network sites more popular than e-mail...even among Boomers

If you don't have a Facebook page yet, better get one. In February, people used social network sites more than they used Web-based e-mail for the first time ever. That's on page six of the just-released report "The Global Online Media Landscape" from the TV-ratings company Nielsen.

Now Boomers, don't roll your eyes. It's not just the GenYers spending all their time doing social networking -- Nielsen data found that the Facebook audience is getting older at a steady pace. On his blog PR 2.0, public-relations agent Kevin Solis lists the highlights of a Nielsen report from March. Last year, Facebook added 13.6 million visitors ages 50 to 64, twice the number of visitors under 18 (7.3 million). Now, almost one third of its global membership is ages 35 to 59, and one quarter is over age 50.

While these Nielsen reports are targeted to the advertising and marketing industries, this data is relevant to you, too. More Internet communication is being sent via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

I just finished writing a story about "the future of networking" and everyone I interviewed, from about-to-graduate college seniors to the newly retired, believed social networking sites were a primary tool for finding a job, keeping up with their connections and networking in general.

It was through Facebook, not Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, that I found out about one friend getting pregnant and another getting engaged. I haven't found any work assignments through the site yet, but I have "friended" a few people who could help me out there.

During these tough times, it's good to have as many tools possible in your job-hunt arsenal, and two good ones are a profile on Facebook and another on LinkedIn. (I'm not as anti-Twitter as New York TImes columnist Maureen Dowd, but I'm still trying to figure out how to benefit from it.) As a Gen X-er, I'm a middle-of-the road Facebook user -- I read my friends' updates, and occasionally send out one myself. But I guess I'm still more reliant on tired old e-mail -- I only find out I have a new message from a Facebook friend after Facebook sends an update to my Hotmail account.
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