Who's talking about the #SOTU on Facebook? Mostly old people

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Who cares about the State of the Union address? On Facebook, it's mostly seniors.

New data released by the social-media company on Tuesday shows that the top groups engaging with content related to the president's upcoming address are also the site's oldest users.


Here's a breakdown of the top demographic groups talking about the State of the Union and President Obama from Jan. 11-17, ranking by user engagement, not volume of users.

1. Women 65+
2. Men 65+
3. Men 55-64
4. Women 55-64
5. Men 45-54

As you might expect, the most-discussed topics are also issues that typically rank high with older folks. Notice the focus on terror-related concerns.


1. Terrorism
2. Obamacare
3. Immigration
4. Jobs and the Economy
5. Israel and Palestine
6. Taxes
7. Community College Funding
8. The NSA
10. Paid Sick Leave

Facebook has 185 million users in the United States. While the company does not offer an age breakdown of its user base, a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center found that a high percentage of young people — 73 percent of those ages 12-17 — use the site.


At the same time, seniors are also flocking to Facebook. Pew found that half of Internet users ages 65 or older have signed up.

The president may primarily be engaging an older Facebook crowd, but he can look at the data with a degree of satisfaction. A mix of the middle-class issues he'll be pitching in the speech — free community college, taxes and paid sick leave — are all among the top discussion points.


That's a sign that his choice to preview the speech beforehand may have jump started the conversation.

UPDATE, Jan. 20, 11:05 p.m.: Data released by Facebook after the State of the Union showed that younger users were more likely to be engaged during the actual speech. Here are the top demographic groups who followed the speech, ranked by engagement:

1. Women 35-49
2. Men 35-49
3. Men 18-34
4.Women 18-34
5. Men 50+

And here are the top issues they discussed:

1. Economy and Jobs
2. Community College
3. Taxes
4. Minimum Wage
5. Middle Class

Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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