Where’s the dial??? Turns out 55-plus crowd actually does know how to use mobile phones

If all your anthropology assumptions were based on TV spots and popular culture, you’d likely have concluded trying to get the 55-plus crowd using smart phones to use social networks and interact with screens was a totally lost cause.

Older people tend to get portrayed as befuddled dolts who need phones with just two very big buttons: Answer and Hang Up!

However, some new Nielsen research is telling quite a different story.  The 55-plus crowd is by a big margin the fastest growing group for mobile social network usage.

Reports Marketing Charts:

More than twice as many people age 55 and older visited social networks on their mobile phone in Q3 2011 compared to Q3 2010,according to a September 2011 report from The Nielsen Company. Data from “The Social Media Report Q3 2011? indicates that during Q3 2011, the number of people 55 and older performing mobile social networking grew 109% year-over-year.

Other demographic groups experiencing notably large growth in mobile social networking compared to Q3 2010 include Asian/Pacific Islanders (76%), 35-to-54-year-olds (68%), whites (67%), and 18-to-34-year-olds (61%). With the exception of 13-to-17-year-olds, whose mobile social networking numbers only increased 16%, every group tracked by Nielsen saw the number of people performing mobile social networking grow at least 37% year-over-year (in the case of those with a mixed racial background).

The rapid growth might owe in part to how few were using mobile for social media a year ago, but whatever the case, Baby Boomers are a massive market segment and one deep pocketed pharmaceuticals and automakers are always after.

Anyone pushing Digital OOH and interactive mobile as an integrated solution (and most network operators should be these days), now have a respectable counterpoint for dismissive planners who might reflexively shoot down pitches on the premise that Boomers barely know how to use phones, never mind smartphone apps.

You can get the Nielsen report here (after registering) …