Old Goats And New Technology

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks.

English: Custom made birthday cake

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think I’m officially what would be classified as an Older American (seems like that’s anyone over 25 these days), so I read the press release from the folks at Perion with some interest.  They’re “a developer of software tailored for 40+ Second Wave Adopters (SWAs) of technology”.   I’m not sure if that means all their products are in large type, but nevertheless the research they conducted concluded that:

Older Americans have a cautious approach to technology, but are still willing to embrace it depending on the practical impact it will have on their lives. The study shows that 88.5% of Americans over 45 surveyed consider themselves slow to adopt technology. However, 84.8% adopt a new technology when it fits their current lifestyle, 89% will use new technology if it’s better than what they use today, and 79.2% enjoy technology and new gadgets.

Only 50% of respondents felt that greater usage of technology has hurt social interactions, and 89% said that they were good at keeping in touch with friends.  Key to understanding the segment is the recognition that SWAs over 45 do not fear technology, but they need to be a little more convinced to use it than others. Surprisingly, 76% said that technology was fun; not a term usually associated with technology amongst SWAs.

Add to that this nugget:

A new study by Euro RSCG says people are tired of having to act and look younger than they are and live up to some sort of unattainable youth ideal.  Just about three-quarters of those who surveyed expressed the belief that society has grown much too youth-obsessed — an opinion shared not just by the older set but also by 6 in 10 Millennials.

In other words, if you’re thinking that we oldsters don’t “get” what you’re doing you’re insulting not only a potentially lucrative business segment but maybe angering our kids as well (most of them do love us, after all).  Ever use the phrase “you’re not the demo” when receiving business commentary from an older person?  Maybe we really are.

The real underlying message is that older folks will use whatever means they can to stay in touch and make our lives easier.   We’re pragmatists, balancing the discomfort of the learning with the desire to make use of every minute we have.  Birthdays are great incentives!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Old Goats And New Technology

  1. That is all very interesting.

    I might be in the set of “Second Wave Adopters (SWAs) of technology” (my first Smartphone was the iPhone3) but I like to think that I was an early technology practitioner. I wrote my first computer program when I was 17 and considered I might be all washed-up by 40. I too have a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks (61) but I am still twiddling bits for a living, developing applications for Smartphones against enterprise servers.

    Perhaps it is because we were there at the genesis of the technology revolution that we don’t eschew it today.

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