At 105, Edythe Kirchmaier May Be Facebook's Oldest User

Friday, 08 Feb 2013 12:00 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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At 105, Edythe Kirchmaier may be Facebook's oldest user, a claim made possible after the site's engineers rejiggered the coding to allow the centenarian to input her birth date: Jan. 22, 1908.

But who knows for sure? With a billion Facebook users, there could be older folks logging in who are just shy about their ages.

Kirchmaier, who also holds the titles of California's oldest licensed driver and the University of Chicago's oldest alum, joined Facebook last month when the medical aid charity Direct Relief, where she has volunteered for 40 years, set up the account for her.

"I've been contacted by such wonderful people and received such nice messages and pictures from people all over the world," Kirchmaier told "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "I'm so humbled by all the interest in me."

It took three weeks for Facebook engineers to edit the birth year coding that would allow Kirchmaier to input her birthday, according to the New York Daily News.

"We kept having trouble setting up her page because Facebook kept saying her birth year is invalid," Kerri Murray, a member of Direct Relief, told the Daily News. "I don't know if you've ever tried but it's very hard to get through to people at Facebook."

A social worker by trade, Kirchmaier was married for some 70 years. Her husband died five years ago at age 98. Together they had two kids and dozens of grand and great-grandkids.

Kirchmaier isn’t the only senior citizen to embrace social media. Retirees age 65 and older are the fastest-growing group of social networkers on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, according to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. The report found that 40 percent of Internet users older than 65 use Facebook, up 150 percent since 2009.

They're also joining Twitter in record numbers. In 2009, only 5 percent of Internet users in the 50 to 64 age bracket were on Twitter or some other status-update service. It's now up to 11 percent, according to "GMA."

Kirchmaier also said she got an iPad Mini for Christmas, which she uses to check her email and peruse the Internet.

Related stories:

Facebook Unveils Social-Search Tool in Challenge to Google

Facebook Faces Legal Showdown Over Privacy Violation Claims


Facebook Patches Webcam Vulnerability After Receiving Hacker Tip

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