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GENERATIONAL DIVIDE RE: USE OF INTERNET IS CLOSING

According to a new report from Pew Internet and American Life – the 2010 Generations Report – age as a determining factor of technology and social media use seems to be losing significance.  While age continues to play a role in how individuals use the Internet, the Report found that age is no longer key in whether an individual uses the Internet.

The 2010 Generations Report found, among other things, that:

  • Accessing health-related information online is now the third most popular online activity for all Internet users regardless of age. Previously, using the Internet for this purpose had been considered common only among older users;
  • Internet users over the age of 34 were more likely to use the Internet to access government and financial information than those under the age of 34;
  • The percentage of adults who watch video online jumped from 52% in 2008 to 66% in 2010; and
  • Although social media/networking sites continue to be more popular with younger users, social media experienced its sharpest increase among older Internet users; namely, users age 74 and older.
  • These online activities are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups: e-mail, search engines, getting health information, following the news, researching or making purchases (including travel reservations), online banking, supplying reviews or ratings, donating to charity, and downloading podcasts.

Details about the Pew research results can be found here and here

As the use of technology increases among all demographics, clients will be less likely to hire professionals who are unfamiliar with technology and are non-users themselves. This is a key consideration in working and communicating with clients of a different generation. 

The Pew research documents the belief that we should no longer blindly assume that being tech-savvy means being young. Another piece of evidence that we must challenge our assumptions about age-related capabilities and preferences.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot

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