business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Fast Company had a piece the other day about a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, revealing an interesting dichotomy in generational usage of the internet.

“One of the major findings of the report is that ‘millennials,’ sometimes called ‘Generation Y’ - aged 18-33 - are more likely to use wireless internet, laptop, social networking sites or participate in virtual worlds. But there were some corners of the internet use that older folks, from Gen X on up, were more likely to use: online banking, for instance, or government websites.”

The story goes on, “Only half as many teens currently operate their own blog now, compared to 2006,” Fast Company writes about the report findings. “Have our teenagers suddenly become less vain and navel-gazing? Unlikely: Pew speculates that Facebook status updates have become the preferred means of self-casting for the young.

“And finally, the most delightful finding of all: The fastest growth on social networking sites like Facebook has come from internet users 74 and older. Usage quadrupled since 2008.”

It is the old “Age Wave” argument come to virtual life - that we live in a world where, as people age, they do not become their parents, do not suddenly start wearing polyester pants, do not suddenly stop listening to the Rolling Stones and start listening to Muzak. They adapt, probably faster and with greater alacrity than previous generations, to cultural and technological changes.

Which means that businesses that want to be relevant to these customers have to adapt as well, and cannot afford to be behind the wave.
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