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Oldsters beat twentysomethings at social networking

Twelve-month surge

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We now know where Microsoft went wrong with its KIN "social phone": it mistakenly made twentysomething hipsters its target market.

Twentysomethings are the least likely age group to share information via text messages, and they use social networks such as Twitter and Facebook less frequently than baby-boomers in their fifties, according to an international survey of information workers.

Just 26 per cent of those in their 20s send text messages, and 40 per cent use social media. On the other end of the age spectrum, 47 per cent of boomers over 55 text, and 50 per cent use social media — at least according to a Forrester survey sponsored by Citrix Online, the not entirely disinterested provider of the GoToMeeting web-conferencing service.

Forrester also found the boomers' online surge has taken place in the last 12 months, when 79 per cent of older users embraced social networks and Web 2.0.

Gen Y — those twentysomethings that the media and tech companies tell us are on the vanguard of texting, Facebooking, and Twittering — are also least likely to use video conferencing, video chat, and web-conferencing tools in work situations.

Of course, it's possible to have too much social networking, especially when it comes to business meetings: seventy-seven per cent of respondents frowned on those who use their computer or smartphone during a meeting, compared to 88 per cent who believe side conversations are unacceptable.

The survey of nearly 800 people found that Americans have more meetings than any other nation — 90 per cent meet in person — with half engaged in meetings every day. Gen Yers, meanwhile, found meetings to be an inefficient activity, and are least likely of all the age groups to pay attention.

Bernardo de Albergaria, Citrix Online vice president and general manager of global marketing and ecommerce, said in a statement: "Despite admitting that in-person meetings are often inefficient and don't achieve their goals, workers still seem to like them. That's probably because people are hard-wired to see people and read body language."

You can see more results, with a breakdown by country, here.

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