Lol! @ my grand-folks who repeatedly tell me to “go into the google” to get the answers to questions I don’t know. As if the answers are all in a drawer somewhere in the google cabinet. Lol! @ that thought. Of course, this is years after they became accustomed to navigating the web. Now, its like an invasion. I receive whatsapp hellos and emails sometimes three times per day, which conclude with the customary “Lol, ok, just checking if you’re there and well.” #SoCute.
According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in a demographic group. Furthermore, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71 percent do so daily and 34 percent use social media. Another observation is that while millennial and many 40 + use social media in a “selfie” sort of way, the elderly, who are very sensitive to privacy issues, use it to connect with family and like-minded individuals.
The statistics provided speak specifically to the United States, but Jamaica is quickly catching on. Computer classes at senior centres are growing in popularity. Classes on computer basics as well as instruction in using email and other social media platforms such as Facebook have become more common. Conversations with some members of CCRP, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons – a non-profit membership organization for persons 50 and over, retired or preparing for retirement, revealed that this is fast becoming one of the most popular part of the program.
Personally speaking, it does appear seniors might be one of the few demographics with a lot of online growth yet to come, and perhaps an undervalued market for internet-based products and services. I mean, before every doctor visit, my grandmother religiously checks Web MD for information, or as she calls it “Second opinion” #NeverADullMoment.
To marketers, I guess the question which comes to mind is, if senior citizens are your target market, should you be using social media to market to them?