Technology

baby boomer trends, technology with older people

More and More Baby Boomers Embrace Technology

December 28, 2008 09:56 AM
by Jen O'Neill
Baby boomers are no longer the inferior demographic when it comes to using modern technology and the Web, studies reveal.

Digital Immigrants

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A recent study conducted by TV Land revealed that 78 million adults who are labeled “baby boomers”—people between the ages of 44 and 63—are compelled to embrace technology, and entertainment is their primary reason for doing so. 

According to the study, growing up with television helped shape the boomers’ attitudes toward technology. 

The four C’s—choice, control, clarity and community—are what matter most to the group as they evaluate and make decisions related to new technology, says TV Land. Meanwhile, the baby boomer generation still remains an “underserved market as far as the entertainment industry goes.”

This should not be the case, as senior vice president at TV Land Tanya Giles points out. She explains that there are standing misconceptions that boomers are tech phobic, and asserts, “65% (of boomers) have tried out new technology in the last three years.”

Perhaps it’s the way that technology reaches boomers that will catch their interest. The study discovered that boomers are most inclined to use technology when it follows emerging trends, keeps them connected with others, or introduces them to new gadgets or types of entertainment.

Analysis: What steers boomers toward technology?

Although the baby boomer generation isn’t the hot Internet demographic quite yet (that’s 18- to 35-year-olds) there has been continued growth of Internet use among the aging hipster generation, as they comprise nearly 30 percent of the online population. EMarketer.com reports that over the next four years, the number of U.S. boomers who use the Internet at least once a month will grow by more than 4 million, rising from 59.4 million in 2007 to 63.7 million in 2011.

When it comes to boomers’ working environments, a new survey concludes that older workers are more likely than their younger counterparts to use faxes, PDAs, and mobile and landline phones in the workplace.

“Working Matures seem to look for challenge and, more than younger generations, value the freedom to efficiently manage their workload, and their active use of new technology enables a more flexible work schedule with maximum career engagement,” explains Genia Spencer, managing director of operations and human resources at Randstad USA.

Related Topic: Social networking and baby boomers

Another recent study conducted by a leading market research company, The NPD Group, reports that 41 percent of baby boomers have visited social networks such as Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn; furthermore, 61 percent have been to Web sites that offer streaming or downloadable video.

The chief difference between “older” and “younger” social Web users is how they participate. It’s typical for younger users to interact through comments and online conversations, while older users are more comfortable using it to seek information rather than create content.

Reference: Popular sites among baby boomers

Millennials and members of Generation X might have carved out a substantial niche in the social networking realm, but there are many social networking sites specifically designed for baby boomers. Check out Boomj.com, the lifestyle and social network, Boomer Year Book, a place to find old friends or make new ones, and Eons, the online network specifically for boomers. Rest assured, Facebook is no longer solely for the teenage crowd—it’s now a place where all generations come to indulge in social networking.
 
For other Web sites popular among boomers, check out all the things that generation became familiar with over the years on Boomernet, “the baby boomer’s surfing center.” Delve into blogging through The Savvy Boomer, a blog aimed at boomers who might have the slightest—or biggest—fear of technology.
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