Use of Messaging Apps and Social Network Sites Among Older Adults: A Mixed-Method Study
Rebecca Ping Yu
International Journal of Communication
older adults, social media, messaging apps, social network sites, strong ties, weak ties
Multi–social media use or use of multiple social media platforms—messaging apps (e.g., LINE) and social network sites (SNSs; e.g., Facebook) in particular—has become increasingly prominent among older adults, but this phenomenon remains understudied. This study uses a nationally representative sample of Taiwanese adults aged 60 years or older (Study 1; N = 242) and interview data (Study 2; N = 26) to understand antecedents of multi–social media use and its associated outcomes in the older population. Results show that both technological use (mobile and multidimensional Internet use) and social forces (influence from children, friends, and the public) are central factors that operate across older adults’ adoption of both messaging apps and SNSs. Findings further indicate that although multi–social media users do not necessarily have more access to strong or emotionally close and weak or emotionally distant relationships than other Internet users, messaging apps and SNSs play different roles in older adults’ everyday lives.