Debunking myths: What is that senior person doing on-line?

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14 April 2011
Michael Fitzgerald

It is widely agreed that baby boomers and seniors are increasing their on-line presence.On multiple occasions, I have heard this observation made, followed by a statement to the effect that “they want to keep up with their families and post pictures of their grandchildren”.Data from Pew Research actually shows that these groups are participating in a much broader set of activities.As the chart below shows, boomers are at least as active as younger groups when it comes to non-trivial tasks such as getting financial information, and buying products. The 45 to 64 age group is even more active than others when it comes to rating a product, service or person.

The Pew Research data also shows that, in the past two years, participation in social networking sites has increased the most in the boomer groups (by over 30%).Companies seeking to increase their online channel and/or build advocates and fans using social media need to target older, as well as, younger age groups.


  • I find the transition fascinating. I fall into the age group that "is even more active than others when it comes to rating a product, service or person". For years I would look to a particular consumer publication before making any significant purchase. Now I find more timely opinions on-line by people that are using the product in their everyday life. The availability of near real time information on the specific product that I'm evaluating is compelling.

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