I am over 60 and based upon my birth date, my membership number in the Baby Boom Generation is a very low one. By itself, this means little except that I have gotten to the age where I am comparing what “is” with what “was” and trying to sort out the differences. Certain realizations about technology and its uses have recently become somewhat clear to me. A short message to the younger generation would be: don’t ignore half of the people or half of the market! We still represent a lot of readers, buyers, and decision makers.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that the median age in this country in 2010 is 37.4. Half of us are older while the other half is younger. This is highly convenient statistic. Why? Those of us over that age range grew up and learned our core knowledge and practices before the World Wide Web existed. We are not ignorant of its uses; our generation invented it. But the myriad of uses and applications that have resulted today often belong to the younger generation, not to ours.
The Boomers, in general:
- Would rather use a phone to talk to someone than to text someone. We can communicate more in less time and effort by talking than by texting. We know our contacts personally and have a personal connection with them not just an electronic persona.
- We use the computer and the web for depth; not for a quick look. We were trained to read and search for information at the library. In general, we have a good conception of what we are looking for and want depth, not just three or four SEO words and links to more SEO laden articles. Those are for a computer’s convenience not a reader. We don’t search for “dinner recipes”; we search for “recipes for grilled salmon” or “preparing a pork roast.”
- We use the computer to create work not just review someone else’s output. Looking at someone else’s work often triggers new ideas or variations that are useful to us. We go to museums to admire original work; we go to the computer to use a tool.
- For many of us, 300-400 words are an introduction, not the content.
- We aren’t afraid of technology, but we look at it as a tool to make a better life, not a way of life in itself.
A well written article or website for a Boomer is like a deli sandwich, full of flavors, textures, and substance. Many articles we find are like two pieces of white bread with a thin layer of mayo between them. If the older half of the population is important to your career or business, make an effort to provide the substance that we desire and require.