Mark Zuckerberg turned 30 today. Facebook’s CEO is getting older as his users are, too.
Conventional wisdom says that Zuckerberg’s creation has been driven by young people willing to adopt a new technology. Facebook began as a service available only to university students, and the median age of its employees is a just 28.
But Facebook is starting to look a lot older than its competition. Last year the Pew Research Internet Project conducted a survey in the United States, gathering data on how various demographic groups use social media. Facebook is by far the greyest, the only social network on which the percentage of users over 65 broke double-digits.
It hasn’t always been this way. The survey found people 50 and over to be the most ardent new adopters of Facebook. Last year, 45% of respondents over 65 said they used Facebook, a big jump from 32% just one year before. The percentages for young people barely moved.
The older crowd also makes up a much larger proportion of Facebook’s total user base. One estimate of this has been made by iStrategyLabs, which released demographic reports on the site’s users both earlier this year and in 2011. These data—collected by analyzing the “potential reach” figures Facebook gives to advertisers—show big changes in this age breakdown.
Young people have given serious digital ground to their parents and grandparents, with users 18 to 24 going from 30.9% of the total to 23.3%.
If nothing else, turning 30 should help Zuckerberg relate to his aging base of users.