Jumping the digital divide: How do “silver surfers” and “digital immigrants” use social media?

  • Kaja Fietkiewicz Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Keywords: ageing, social Media use, silver surfers, digital migrants, digital natives


For a long time, a digital divide was given between young Web users and older population, which out of anxiety or incapability restrained from using the new technologies. Recently, the so-called “Silver Surfers” and “Digital Immigrants” tend to use the Web not only for sending emails but also increasingly for socializing on social media services (e.g., Kübler 2009; Frees & Koch 2015). This paper aims to discuss the differences in use and adoption of social media platforms between different generations. An online questionnaire was created and distributed among social media users of all ages. The results indicate that the older generations represented a not insignificant part of social media community. They often use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, some apply Twitter and are fond of new followers and many re-tweets, and others just enjoy new videos on YouTube. There indeed appear to exist inter-generational differences in social media usage. In addition, data analysis leads to the conclusion that there are intra-generational gender-dependent particularities as well.

March 24, 2017
How to Cite
Fietkiewicz, K. (2017). Jumping the digital divide: How do “silver surfers” and “digital immigrants” use social media?. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 10(1), 5-26. https://doi.org/10.31165/nk.2017.101.494