Today’s 19-32 year olds may be the Net Generation, but surveys by the Pew Internet and American Life Project show a surge in net use by Boomers in their fifties and sixties, and even those in their seventies, to the point where the Seniors’ proportion to the total US population nearly matches their proportion of total internet usage. People of all ages download video these days and engage in internet commerce. Even e-banking has begun to reach equilibrium among the various age groups. In fact, now that social networks have become the chosen communication tool for younger generations, those sixty plus dominate the email sector.
All of this makes sense. Technological advances don’t drive mainstream adoption, usefulness does. The ever increasing integration of web use into daily life springs directly from its practical value. Email beats looking for stamps, Google beats running to the library, cnn.com beats CNN the channel because you only skim what interests you.
The kids might always be first, they might do more and flashier things online, but to assume that gives them sole providence over the internet would be foolish. The numbers tell a far different story. Unfortunately, the advertising and entertainment world ignores this far too often. That’s why Hollywood makes more violent movies than proven box office-friendly family fare, though Kevin James is laughing all the way to the bank as Paul Blart: Mall Cop. And Angela Landsbury commanded a million dollars an episode by the end of twelve seasons of Murder, She Wrote. Look, the kids do neat things and they certainly look better…
But never underestimate the value of experience.