Are you "plugged in?"
Do you spend at least 27 hours per week on the Internet?
Why would I use such a specific number?
Because in a 2012 research study by WSL Strategic Retail, they found that Baby Boomers spend two hours more a week online than the 25 hours Millennials (ages 16 to 34) do on average.
Who would have thought?
Do you have a Google+ and/or Facebook profile?
I bet you do.
Once thought to be the bastion of the fast paced youth of what I like to call the "microwave" generation, Twitter is quickly becoming second nature to Baby Boomers.
Those of us who love to live our lives at "140 characters at a time" tweet an average of 15 times a day.
Why do I bring this up and why am I asking you these questions?
I guess I really didn't realize, until I saw my name in print, that I am a "Plugged In" Boomer.
And do you know what?
I'm damn proud of that title.
As Georgann concludes from her research:
"No longer is a computer an intimidating piece of complicated cutting-edge hardware."
Hell no, it isn't.
In fact, your computer has probably become your most important work and social engagement tool.
The Internet is the new "Encyclopedia Britannica" of the Baby Boomer generation.
We are recreating and restructuring our retirement plans online.
We are scheduling and planning our vacations and travel online.
We are building (in most cases, rebuilding) our financial portfolios ourselves through "hands-on" investment and stock trading sites online.
We don't make a move on any "big ticket" purchases without first doing our research online.
We are building new careers and "Encore" businesses online.
We control and administrate our health online.
We are dating online.
And I bet, more and more Baby Boomers, like me, will be doing their Christmas shopping this year online.
If you don't believe me, look at these research results from a multitude of prestigious and well-respected organizations:
- One-third of the 195.3 million internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web's largest constituency (Jupiter Research).
- Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
- 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
- 72% of baby boomers have broadband internet in their homes (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).
- 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
- 19 million Baby Boomers are using Facebook (comScore).
- Adults 50+ spend an average of7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
- 72% of adults 55-63 and even 47% age 73+ shop online (Forrester).
- 41% of internet users 50-64 and 27% age 65+ say they watch videos online (Pew).
- 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
- 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
- The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
- 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, Baby Boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).
To me, my computer (and laptop and iPad and smart phone) and the Internet are second nature.
I probably spend 50 to 60 hours a week online.
When I asked fellow Baby Boomers what they thought triggered this quick reversal in engagement with the internet, the resounding response has been "familiarity."
They made it clear that their increasing interaction with technology and the world wide web has taught them how to disseminate between the "fluff" and the facts.
Most 50+ users are not afraid to admit that they were, at the beginning, afraid of the power and immensity of the internet.
It scared them because they didn't understand it.
Now you can hear Baby Boomers say "We can control the information we need" and "We know how to work the system."
Some go as far as to say:
"We trust the Internet."
I'm going out on a limb to say that when we look back at this blog in a few years we will laugh at it's naivete.
Baby Boomers and technology will be a "non-issue."
In 5 years, we will be way beyond "plugged in."
If you want to read Georgann's entire article in the Arizona Republic just click this link:
And I am happy to report that my readership at Survive55 has grown to over 1000 unique visits a day from the 800 that I was getting when I was interviewed by Georgann back in late August.
Thanks to everyone that is supporting Survive55.com.