My hat is off to Jeremiah Owyang for using statistics in the report "How Baby Boomers Use Social Media" to say what I've been saying for years -- that "apparently Baby Boomers aren't exactly the technology Luddites that people think they are."
I can't tell you how frustrating it is to sit through meeting after meeting with people saying you have to be under 30 to "get" social media as if that is an excuse for not trying it if you're over 30.
But I have to say that I don't think lack of adoption of social media by baby boomers is primarily an age-related issue. I believe it is a usability issue.
As social media has developed over the years, some standards have started to emerge, including:
- many of the services are free (so people don't have to worry about online credit card use)
- many of the tools have similar elements - status updates, profile pictures, short bios
- tools are easy to adopt because they've become their interfaces have become somewhat standardized and easier to understand
As more and more people adopt social media, tools developers have access to more feedback in terms of usability and features that people would like to have. The more feedback you get and respond to from your users, the better you are able to improve your usability.
So, is it a question of age or usability?
What do you think?