Traditional habit patterns used to be that as people grew older, they grew into the same habit patterns as their parents. Things like reading a newspaper, watching the evening television news, becoming involved in their children’s schools, the community and listening to radio. But new research says, those patterns have been upended by what else but, the internet.
Perhaps the fastest growing segment of new users on Facebook are seniors. Over half of the people aged 50 to 64 use Facebook, but people over 65 have almost doubled their use of Facebook with now over 32% of them on the social media juggernaut.
It may be why younger generations are moving to other social media platforms, to get away from us oldsters.
You Can’t Turn Back the Hands of Time
Pew Research says seniors who become engaged in social media say they would find it very hard to give up. I’m one of those seniors and yes, I would find it hard to give up. How about you?
Social Media, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) helps seniors to remain independent. Adoption of new technology by seniors goes against the conventional wisdom that only the young want the latest new thing, but these shiny, new, high tech devices attract kids of all ages; even us “big kids.”
Us Baby Boomers were the biggest market segment for all of my life. Only recently have Millennials outnumbered us, but expect Boomers to change the concept of retirement and technology use. Broadcasters take note: Once people discover new technology, it’s unlikely they will return to the days of old.
Social Media Addiction
I don’t remember anyone ever sending out alerts about radio or television addiction, but with social media the world is seeing addictive properties akin to alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
Consider that the average adult now spends nearly 2 hours a day on social media. We can access it on our home computers or away from home on our smartphones. Of the 3.1 billion social media users globally, it’s estimated that almost 7% have a social media addiction problem. This form of addiction is defined as “a proposed diagnosis related to overuse of social media, similar to Internet addiction and other forms of digital media overuse.”
71% of us now sleep with or next to our mobile phone. I know I do and it also is my alarm clock. Worse are those people who check their social media before going to sleep or wake-up during the night to check their social media, estimated to be about 45% of us, making getting a good night’s sleep challenging.
Maybe even more alarming is the fact that 90% of drivers say they use their smartphones while driving. Half to check social media while behind the wheel. (I DO NOT) And according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, 9-people are killed and more than a thousand are injured daily by people using their smartphones while driving.
I can’t think of any reports of people suffering the same amount of death or injury listening to their car radio. Can you?
Apple even now tells me how much my weekly screen time is on each of my Apple devices in an effort to make me more aware of how much time I spend with them. I can even set-up my devices to force me to limit my time with them. That’s how different these platforms are from the traditional media of the 20th Century.
If you’d like to do a deep dive into “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech Saturated World,” here’s a link to a long report on all of this by the Pew Research Center. Click HERE
I share all of this for radio broadcasters, the first social media, to consider the challenge of today’s new communications media. It’s addictive. Broadcast not so much.
A reader wrote to me asking this question: ‘Was radio the dominant media because it truly was a companion or because it was pre-internet, consumers had a lot fewer choices for basic full service information and music?’
Reaching Our Time Limit
Back in the early 90s I was living in New Jersey and AT&T did a presentation for my Rotary Club on a future of infinite capacity in communications. Just to be clear, these scientists defined “infinite” as having more transmission capacity through their wires than they could conceive of what to transmit over them.
I remember asking the question if the future was going to make available so much media product, how would a viewer or listener know what to consume? The answer they gave me was, ‘the media would pay the listener or viewer to listen or watch their program.’
It feels to me like we’re approaching that point in time now.
What are your thoughts?