Thursday, September 2, 2010

We Hip Oldsters

How much time every day do you spend on Facebook? The topic came up the other day in a conversation with a friend, and we both spend a similar amount of time – not all that much. But I decided to see if I could find out what the “average” is for the 55+ set.

I couldn’t get the answer, but I did find out a bunch of interesting stuff. A consultant whose work I admire, Jerry Del Colliano, says right now, people OVER 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group. The most recent month for which figures are available, May, saw 6.5 million more adults 65 and over creating a Facebook account, which is three times greater than the rate one year ago in May. Younger demographics were, of course, the early adopters, but now it’s retired folks who are connecting on Facebook.

I spend a LOT more time writing stuff like this than fooling around on Facebook and Twitter.

Americans have increased their time on social networking sites by 43% in the past year, while use of e-mail has declined by 28%, according to Del Colliano, who gets his information from the Neilsen folks.

One thing that hasn’t caught on that strongly yet is use of e-books….like the Amazon Kindle. By the end of the year, the folks at Simba Information say there’ll be about ten million e-readers in use in America, up from about four million a year ago. That’s great growth, but not what many had predicted. I still prefer to hold a book in my hand – but as my eyesight changes for the worse, I could probably be convinced to buy an e-reader so I can ootch the print size up a bit!

One other note: the business staple of my generation….the BlackBerry…has now slipped to third place in the smart phone race, behind iPhone and the new Android phones. Apple is still selling iPhones as fast as it can make them, and global shipments of mobile phones running Google’s Android system are up 886% in the second quarter of this year.

Del Colliano says the first ten years of this new century were devoted to the internet; the next ten will be all about the mobile internet. I think he’s right.


  1. >> Del Colliano says the first ten years of this new century were devoted to the internet; the next ten will be all about the mobile internet. <<

    Yeah, but it's when I see "innovations" like speech-to-text messaging phones -- where instead of typing a text message you speak it and the phone sends a text message -- and the accompanying text-to-speech application that converts the text message to voice on the receiving end, that I wonder how much wheel-spinning is going on.

    I mean, it isn't enough to actually dial someone's number and speak with your own voice to the other have to create a text message by speaking it and the high-tech phone converts it to a text message...which is then read back to the recipient in a drunken Swede's voice.

    Maybe it's simply recycling old technology. I heard a demonstration of DECTalk back when text-to-speech was a big deal. DEC (the old Digital Equipment Corporation) had hired Stevie Wonder as a spokesman. DECTalk enabled Wonder to hear his electronic messages read to him in one of several drunken Swede voices. I punched my name into a keyboard attached to a DECTalk unit and heard it sound out a completely new mispronounciation of my name: Steve Er-bitch. I was impressed!

    Anyway, the voice quality and accent of these text-to-speech units hasn't advanced much in the intervening 25 years. Yes, I heard DECTalk in 1984 or thereabouts.

    I'm waiting for the day that cell phones with Bluetooth headsets acquire a new capability: a heads-up display. It'll have a little screen a couple inches from your eye, kind of like the one Simon Pegg as Montgomery Scott wears in the new "Star Trek" movie. So you can drive and video chat with your friends at the same time!

    I like technology as much as the next guy. It seems to me that the mobile Internet craze will settle down soon. To what I don't just looks like a fancy entertainment delivery system at the moment.

    The Town Crank
    Neenah, WI

  2. Of course, I can't find the story I cut out the newspaper a while ago, but I was interested to read I am, at 36, in the third oldest segment of bloggers and a minority, at that!