I don't feel 50

Oh no! Not another Silver Surfers day

Just received a PR mailing about Silver Surfers day. Bit of a surprise as I'd been led to believe it was going to have a new name, new format, something different, time for a change.

Will the digital divide be closed by events like 'Silver Surfers day?
“Silver Surfer’s Day” does more harm than good as it diverts resources and attention from the real reasons why many older people are still not going online.

Don't kid yourself, pretending you don't understand that “Silversurfer” is ageist, and most research I've seen over the last 15 years describes ageist attitudes in the way older people are perceived in relation to technology as a problem.

Society has a terrible view of old age.

I find it incredible how many people are so politically correct, so worthy about disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation but when it comes to age they can't wait to put the boot in.

Financial reality is one of the primary reasons why many older people are not online. The financial reality last winter for a lot of older people was whether they could afford to heat or eat, buying a PC or signing up for broadband was never ever going to be on their shopping list.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) often mis-leads us by what they don't tell us and this is the case again in The ONS Statistical Bulletin Internet Access 2010 that just states “Adults aged 65 and over made up almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of those individuals who had never accessed the Internet”

Thankfully The Oxford Internet Institute survey Autumn 2010 gets to the nitty gritty and proves that income/wealth is as important as age regarding internet use. The lower right cell combines the oldest people with the highest income: here over 80% of older people use the Internet.

While communicating successfully with people, especially older people, offline or online is about trust and human warmth not insincere American jargon like 'Senior', 'baby boomer' or 'silver surfer'.

Senior we don’t want to be senior to anyone. While “Babyboomer” spans a period of 19 years from 1946 to 1964. Pasting an entire generation with the same brush is stupid, the first and last “Baby boomer's ” lived through drastically different experiences, but are lumped together for marketing.

Same with “Silver surfer” originally used in the early days of the web by American youngsters poking fun at older people online. Bit like some young kids today, who jump ship when their parents join Facebook.

Lumping together everyone over the age of 50 who goes online and calling them 'silversurfer's, focusses on age not ability. From someone just starting out and able to type a few words into Google to Internet pioneers such as Bill Gates and Tim Berners – Lee, in other peoples eyes we're just old.

Graham (69)