The Average Person Alive During WWII and Now on Facebook Has 42 Friends

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People who are older than 75 have seen the world do some crazy things. They were born during or before Hitler's rise to power, lived through the deprivation and horrors of World War II, saw atomic weapons used in war, experienced the construction of our nation's highway network, waged the Cold War, and enjoyed booms in real estate, chemicals, electronics, computers, and networks.

And, now, many find themselves on Facebook, the latest in a long string of companies that have gone public since there were fighter planes over the fields of France. A new Pew study finds that the average person over the age of 75 on Facebook has 42 friends. That may be the smallest number of any age cohort, but it's certainly not nothing. Previous research found that people in their mid-70s and up were the fastest growing group of social media adopters in 2010. Now, more than 16 percent of people in that bracket are cruising Facebook and other social networks.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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