Email remains the most popular activity for older internet users, but among young online adults, social networking sites are just as much a part of the daily routine as email. Websites like Facebook are becoming increasingly popular among older internet users; the number of online adults ages 50 and older on social networking sites nearly doubled in the past year. But on a typical day, while a majority of online adults ages 50-64 (60%) and ages 65 and older (55%) send and receive email, relatively few check in with their friends and family via social networking sites (20% and 13%). Among online adults ages 18-29, however, there is little difference between the two online activities. Fully 60% of young adults visit a social networking site daily, and relatively the same number (62%) send and receive email daily. It should not be too surprising that young adults are more likely to visit a social networking site than are older adults, considering they are still much more likely to be users. But nearly all online adults, young and old, use email at least occasionally. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.