Tag Archives: internet

The Other Digital Divide

One day I was on Facebook checking out my newsfeed and a friend of mine, young, under 30 and a techie posted about some music he was enjoying — which I happen to enjoy as well.  I commented and requested he make me a CD.  One of his friends responded with some comments about file sharing and such and that with technology there's much simpler ways to enjoy music now.  The mama in me wanted to check this young'n but I decided against it. My friend who made the original post was eerily silent.  When I talked to him the next day I said, asked "why do you guys do that?" that, as in why do you young folks (under 30) treat us middle age and old folks like we're dinosaurs?  He wouldn't touch that question but has often commented that I (at the prime age of 44) am more the exception than the norm for folks my age when it comes to being interested in technology.  What I have found (informally) is that my set IS consisted of dinosaurs with some exceptions.
Now I'm not an expert on technology, however I've had a computer in the home or had access to one since 1984 (my friend mentioned above was all of 2 years old).  My family was fortunate, my dad is an audiophile and has subsequently become quite gadgety (he bought the first gen iPad when it was released).  As such I've always had an interest in all things technology, not the means to purchase 😉 but definitely the interest.  
If it weren't for technology, the internet/interwebs and such I would have to do things the old fashioned way like use a map/call for directions, go to the library and spend hours in front a microfilm machine to research an old article, write a check, use a stamp and envelope to mail a bill.  Thank GOD for technology!  However my random sample of peers, older folks and some slightly younger folks (no one under 30) think that technology is:
  • Dangerous
  • Of the devil
  • Scary
  • Too difficult to understand
  • For young folks
Which is unfortunate because it can quite literally open up the entire world to you.  What's interesting is that while I was researching this piece, I researched it from a statistical viewpoint — I am 44 and an accountant by day so hard data/numbers are my thing and my cursory glance at what I found gives me a bit more hope than what my small sample of friends and family bore out.  My peers and upwards aren't necessarily technophobes, we just use it differently and not as much as our younger counter parts.

My first look was at a piece from AARP for the over 50 crowd.  From their phone survey they found that 40% of persons over 50 are comfortable using the internet and of those 57% use the internet from a desktop while only 4% use the internet on a mobile (phone) device. 27% of the 50+ set use social media, with Facebook (23%) being the primary destination.  This AARP study also overlayed a sample of  50+ Hispanics whose numbers are about half of the majority population sampled.  (Those numbers are part of the real digital divide, which is another discussion).  

The second piece that I stumbled upon was a great summary of tons of statistics on technology usage  of all kinds by all different age groups and it again, the stats here show that my peers aren't necessarily averse to technology we just use it differently.  For instance most of my peers and up have cell phones, but we talk on them more than we text on them and we have very low usage of the mobile web.  According to an FCC study 86% of all Americans own cell phones but the biggest users of mobile internet (48%) are between 19 and 29 while only 5% of 65+ folks use the mobile web.  

What does all this mean?
That the middle aged and older aren't as far behind as the young folks think, however we have some catching up to do.  That the generations might spend a little more time teaching, learning and sharing in lieu of criticizing, but how do we get this done?  That will be next post?  How we close the digital age divide?

Note:  the old broad wrote a draft of this post in Evernote using an HP dv6-3120.  The post appears on Typepad and is cross-posted from Friendfeed to Twitter :=)

 

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Not a Tech Blogger has a Buzz in her ear

I
was on Friendfeed on Tuesday February 9, when Google dropped Buzz on the world
and some how I got caught up in the hype. Waiting for the icon to appear in my
email (got it Thursday) and not wanting to wait, I started Buzzing immediately
from my iPhone. I thought oh gosh, do I really need another social media
service/platform/time-sucker in my life? 
I’ll answer that question later. If you didn’t know, here’s what Google
says Buzz is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi50KlsCBio

There’s been changes since the introduction of this video
that address privacy concerns, auto-following, muting and such. You can check
the Gmail blog for the updates and
of course you can Google it. There’s been plenty of blog posts, articles,
praise and complaints about Buzz in its first week.  Of course if you are already in Buzz and
follow any technology folks, you can get excellent information that way.

Observations

1.      
Buzz is attached to Gmail – I railed in the
beginning because I loathe email and I didn’t like that Buzz co-opted my
contact list, hence the privacy issue. So Tuesday night, since I’d not received
the Buzz icon yet, I deleted about 90% of my contacts, not a problem since they
are replicated elsewhere.  One good thing
is that I was already following some people that I followed in Google Reader
which is a Google product that I use a lot.

2.      
Google Reader Shares – are automatically posted
to Buzz. I like that. What doesn’t work is when you have your shares set up to
another feed, in my case Friendfeed. So when sharing an item in that way it
shows up twice, because reader shares are tied to you Google Profile and that
share setting is what’s used in Friendfeed and I imagine in other services.
This gives a double post. One with the actual title of the article and one that
says Buzz from: (see posts #4 and 5)

What I’d like to see something like Ping.fm
from Buzz where you click the share button and goes to allt he places you want,
showing a Subject and Link perhaps “Buzz: Obama breaking kneecaps.”

3.      
Search – I don’t even know how to do this. There
are posts that were really good the first couple of days that I can’t find and
have no idea to search based on the poster’s name, subject or anything.
Non-tech folks need a search box where we can just type it in and find it.

4.      
Collapsing posts – Posts with lot of comments
are automatically collapsed but from what I can see you can collapse anything
manually.

5.      
Likes – I use “Likes” mostly as bookmarks. Again
referencing Friendfeed, it would be nice to have a place where all of your
likes and comments are grouped together so you can refer back to them.

6.      
Comments – Posting a comment when your stream is
active is a bit precarious. New comments are coming in, the screen is jumping
and you lose your place. I think this should be made static so you can finish
what you’re doing.

7.      
RT/RB – You can share a link to your followers
but you can’t do an RT or RB (re-buzz) directly from the post. When you do
share the link you get some a Buzz from post just like the one described in ##
above.

8.      
Spam – already I’ve received porn and direct
marketing follower spam. I don’t even get this in my email inbox, Google does a
great job at this because I’ve not ever set up any manual spam filters.  That said I’m assuming that Google can fix
this one quickly. In the meantime I’m just blocking.

9.      
Mobile usage – with Google Maps and the Buzz
layer on top of it. This is really hot as far as I’m concerned.  I can see this piece as really people driven
AND advertiser driven. People can comment, post photos on their location and it
goes onto the map and into their Buzz stream making it more social. It’s a boon
for advertisers who can suggest things in the area.  A game-changer for me – I may abandoned my
beloved Brightkite for this. Once I get it working correctly of course.

10.  
Aggregation – this is the biggie for me. I came
onto Friendfeed in 2009 when it was already declared dead. It died again when
Facebook bought it. It’s been declared dead many times but I love it because it
is a great aggregator.  All of my blogs
feed to it. Anything that I do with the exception of Facebook is aggregated there.
If Buzz aggregates, that will be a game-changer for me. I would do everything
from Buzz, period.

11.  
Time-suck – Buzz can take up your time,
especially right now when it’s new and it doesn’t behave in the way that some
of your other social media tools do. You spend a lot of time, turning things on
and off, looking for stuff, experimenting with stuff.  The second way it takes up time is in the
scrolling. When you’re actually reading posts it takes a long time to do if
your timeline – buzzline is active.  The
third way and not so bad way is that you can get caught up in some really good,
really interesting conversations.  Time
Management with Buzz like any social media is critical.

Overall, I have to say I really dig Google Buzz. It is weird
and buggy and is a resource hog for sure, because when I have Buzz open I get the
spinning Vista wheel, however I think the potential for it is pretty
substantial for the social set, for the blogging set, for the business set,
really for everybody because of the Google brand. I mean Google is a brand and
it is a VERB for crying out loud. Is Buzz a Twitter or Facebook killer? No.  People seem to use those two forms of social
media, very differently and there are way too many users (Facebook) and
loyalists (Twitter) for them to die. 
People are still going to go there.  The technical early adopters will make Buzz catch
heat, Google has proven to be very responsive in making changes, everybody
knows Google, I think it is a win.  My hope
is that the introduction and later adoption of Google Buzz will prove to be a
social media/web presence simplifier for the masses.

I’m all in, are you? Come check me out on
Google Buzz.

 

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