She was born before the slinky, The Beatles and Teflon. She has had to come to terms with the exponential advancement of technology — an age that brought us technological breakthroughs such as the aqualung, the neutronic reactor, the all popular atomic bomb, skiffle music, the turbo prop engine, the atomic clock, the microwave oven, Velcro and even the Frisbee.
She was there in the heady early days of computing. In 1944 Harvard University mathematician Howard Aiken built the Mark I computer. Weighing in at 35tons it was capable of finding the product of two 11 digit numbers… in just three seconds! Nowadays her iPad can order her dinner, plan a holiday and see what the grand kids are up to, all while weighing significantly less and being slightly more purse friendly. She was witness to the beginning of chilling milk in bottles, to viewing new earth-like planets discovered in the milky way. She underwent the paradigm shift from Dewey system searching to googling for ‘that’ recipe. She has proven adaptable and picked up the lingo. She moved to digital bingo.
She swapped her blue rinse for Bluetooth, went from USSR to USB. She turned off Emerdale Farm and turned on the tablet to play Farmsville. Dads Army is now World of Warcraft. Readers Digest is now on eReader (Oldies are the highest user base for eReader devices). She has adapted from valves to transistors and yet we complain about learning a new operating system.
Her generation has some impressive stats (in the US alone..)
- 75% are online
- 70% use search engines
- 63% shop online
- 46% bank online
- 45% are on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo! Groups
- 60% still have a full-time or part-time job
- 23% have started their own business
This topped with the facts that they have the highest average net worth of any other age group and that they religiously spend that wealth on their grandchildren and technology to communicate with the little angels — it’s a wonder why they are not treated more seriously – and with respect in the marketing sector. This adaptive age-group deserves respect and acknowledgment. Marketing to these silver surfers from a place of fear based marketing and using tones used on their grandchildren will fail to work. Their chosen tech of choice appears to be the tablet over the smart phone and once they have joined the ‘interwebs’ they are there daily, using it as a positive enabling tool and communications device. Now with the age of obscenely large screen sizes, scalable text, screen zooming, screen readers, voice activation and large touch area buttons, this age group — who may for physical health reasons not have joined us in cyber space until now, are surfing steady on these easy to use devices.
It seems we have portrayed this generation all wrong. This old biddy is winning bids on ebay. This ‘has-been’ has been updating her profile pic on facebook – she’s wearing a Minecraft T-Shirt.
They acknowledge the technical revolution because they are smart enough to know that they do not have to reinvent the wheel and through it all, they have proven their flexibility and durability. It would benefit us all to respect their past, for once it was all that was humanly possible.