Varying perceptions of virtual world

Varying perceptions of virtual world

Online connection

 And the same study reveals that the category of users from 35 to 49 years is on a sharp rise. Though on the face of it, the social networking sites seem to be designed for the youth, this study shows that they have no longer remained a preserve of only younger generation.

Metrolife interacted with the netizens in the City to find out which traits of networking sites attract the middle-aged people and how different are these users from the young people.

 “Youngsters use these sites in a different way than us. They are more into exploring and establishing their identity in the online world. But people like me, who are in their forties, are into rebuilding our network, trying to connect with some old school and college friends who are scattered all over the world. It is so enlivening and rewarding to get a glimpse of their lives. Without networking sites it would be nearly impossible to trace them,” says Padma Kishan, a beautician who was introduced to these sites by her daughter.

“I could see my daughter busy doing something on the Facebook and Twitter. At that time, I thought she was wasting her time on worthless things. But when she created my profile and showed me its applications, I saw a different world on Facebook. Now I am addicted to the site more than my daughter,” she says. 

Abraham, a professor of Mass Communication, says that the use of social networking sites has peaked among youngsters, so it was obvious for the portals to widen their reach. Hence, networking sites turned their face towards middle-aged. “For any matured user, social networking is not just for fun. Actually youngsters have so many options at their discretion to have fun. For the middle-aged, life offers limited fun. So, the networking sites provide a great relief to them and it fills the void.

Hence, middle and old age people log on to them in large numbers. We use them rationally as we are able to demarcate between personal and social information. Of late, these sites have also updated many of their options for the benefit of adult users,” he says.

Do youngsters, who for most part of their day are on these sites, bother to share the space with their parents’ generation? Why not,” says Lisba, an engineering student. “As long as they don’t come in our way, I don’t see any problem. People want to express themselves freely on the social network sites and no one likes any kind of intervention. We must understand our boundaries,” she opines.

But Usha, a postgraduate student says that when her parents are on the Facebook, she does not find it cool to be there. “I don’t want to be answerable to anyone about my online domain. Be it parents or anyone else. Thankfully, my parents understand this very well and don’t indulge in cross-checking of my online links. Still when my parents are around, I don’t feel comfortable. So, I have stopped accessing these sites from home,” she says.