Government introduces social network for older generation

The Government is the latest organisation to embrace the social networking phenomenon with the launch of a dedicated portal aimed at the older generation.

The Department for Work and Pensions is trialling a new site – – with the Hansard Society as part of the Government’s Generation Experience Initiative, which saw the first UK Older People’s Day on October 1.

The site aims to encourage social networking among older people and initiate direct debate between them and the Government about issues that really concern them. The topics will cover all areas of life, not just work and pensions. Representatives from the DWP will moderate and update the site, start discussions or contribute to existing ones. They will also invite other interest groups such as Age Concern and Help the Aged to introduce themes and discussions on the site. The site will link to other networking sites including MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.

Pensions Minister Mike O’Brien says: “Older people have helped build a prosperous economy, a strong society and a better country. This will help their voice be heard. The Government may not always agree but it is important that we listen and learn.

“Older people are increasingly using the internet. Of course many of the popular social networking sites have been oriented towards young users. This site fills a gap in the market by providing an online forum for older people to get their views heard.”

The site launch follows research for the DWP that shows more than half of all over-50s have access to the Net, rising to 76% for 50to 64-year-olds, while almost one in six (15%) of those in the 50to 64-year-old bracket access instant messaging, social networking sites and internet chatrooms.

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