Fifty Plus Booms Online as Digital Presence Increases
By Michael J Morris
Older folks, in the United States go online daily, according to McAfee, as reported by emarketer.com this past week. The report is titled Fifty Plus Booms Online and was published in October 2013.
In fact, the report suggests that 97% of adults, ages 50 to 75, have some kind of regular digital presence in their lives. I was surprised and wonder if a Canadian study would reveal the same results.
Upon reflection, however, after my initial surprise, my hunch is the results would be similar. The study included Baby Boomers and Seniors with me in the latter group as I was born during World War II.
McAfee discovered that most use the internet primarily to make online purchases, access bank accounts, pay bills, and take care of other personal and business related tasks.
Increasingly, we are being urged to use the internet for all those things as in some respects we are moving towards a paperless society. I don't know about you, but I no longer receive bills or bank statements in the mail which undoubtedly begs the question about the future of Canada Post.
The report notes that 80% are active on social networks as well, with over 66% logging on to social networking sites daily. That's me. I am on Facebook and Twitter daily, and have to admit they have become an integral part of my life as a communications tool.
Flying to and from Florida recently from Calgary primarily through the United States, I was able to report my progress to friends using Facebook. At the moment, Internet use on Canadian based airlines is still prohibited. However, the main reason I flew on United and American airlines was the vast difference in taxes associated with my flight -- over $100 lower on them than Canadian carriers. Little wonder, Canadians fly on US carriers when possible but that is a story for another day.
Facebook is the most popular social network among the 50 to 75 demographic with 75% using this site compared to 35% and 22% using Google and Twitter respectively. I would have thought Google use would have been higher, but basically agree with Twitter number as I am often asked about it.
Interestingly, the report shows that more women than men in the demographic use Facebook -- 77% and 72% respectively.
I basically use Twitter as a news feed, but recently have been commenting, replying and retweeting more as my total disgust with the Harper Scandal grows, but I promised myself I would invoke my 24 hour rule, in this case extended to at least seven days before making comments.
However, I must share a comment tweeted by Andrew Coyne, one of Canada's most distinguished journalists who writes for the National Post and appears regularly on CBC At Issue program. I received it from a person in Cranbrook by email. Thanks so much.
It read: "Andrew Coyne (@acoyne) 2013-11-20 9:32 PM. Basically virtually everything Bob Fife reported in the spring has been confirmed".
High praise from a fellow journalist. As some readers know, and in the interests of full disclosure, Robert 'Bob' Fife, the Ottawa Bureau Chief of CTV News and host of CTV Question Period, is a friend and former student of mine, and his family and mine have been friends for more years than I can recall. I am so proud of Bob who has not wavered in his pursuit of the truth in this sorry mess of coverup, deceit and lies at the highest levels of our federal government.
Back to the McAfee report. It notes that more than three in four internet users ages 45 and up worry about their online security, especially fraud or identity theft, and feel that having a social network account puts them at increased risk. Social networking sites like Facebook are their major concern
However, two out of three readily share contact information. but there is a large discrepancy between the likelihood of sharing something like an email address (55%) and a more traceable detail like a cellphone number (33%) or home address (25%).
Still, according to McAfee, "a third of respondents feel comfortable sharing information ranging from personal photos to intimate or personal details including information about significant others. Moreover, half have used internet dating sites, which entails filling out a detailed personal profile to receive a compatible algorithmic match, or know someone who has."
And in conclusion the report says, "A startling quarter of social network users in this age range have even taken to sexting, indicating that older definitely does not mean wiser when it comes to oversharing online."
Your comments, as always, welcome. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Full disclosure: I am not now and never have been a member of the Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society; however, I did conduct a workshop for its members for which I was paid.