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You're Never Too Old To Embrace Technology… Unless You Think You Are

by Shonali Burke on August 16, 2010

“Good morning, Terri.  I hope you have a beautiful day!  Love, Mom”

A few weeks ago I received this text message from my 83-year old mother, who for years has been adverse to using technology. Needless to say, I was amazed and tickled about this particular text.

Is this the same woman I grew up with?

As a youngster I remember her fumbling around with the VCR, cursing cordless phones and becoming overwhelmed with special features on our televisions, radios and Walkmans.

As technology marched on, she adamantly denounced her use of anything that involved a keyboard or screen. No email, smart phone or the Internet.

As she famously lectured, “Technology can take over your life…and besides, I’m too old for that stuff.”

I always accepted her argument, and I have mixed emotions about this. Over the years I’ve sensed her slowly being left behind, unable to connect with those who mean the most.

But not anymore! After a few hours of tutoring from my 15-year old nephew (and taking pages and pages of notes), my mother learned how to text!

The grandkids are particularly amused by this development. We’ve dubbed her “The Texting Granny.”

Too old for technology?  Not sure I can buy into that argument any longer…

When I talk to groups about social media and interactive marketing, invariably, there is always someone my age or older who describes it as “something young people do.”

I’ve never been shy to challenge this thinking, but my mom’s new skills have strengthened my resolve.

And contrary to popular belief, internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Generation X – comprised of those born between 1964 and 1981 – banks, shops, and looks for health information online.

The project states that Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online and Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email.

In fact, the 55-and-older crowd is the fastest-growing age group on Facebook, increasing by 35% in the past six months.

Looking for inspiration?

  • Ivy Bean, the world’s oldest Tweeter, tweeted until the ripe old age of 104.
  • Eighty-three-year-old computer coach Virgil Heidbrink enjoys his retirement with his new online skills. He’s convinced that new social connections are keeping him young in spirit.
  • My late father, Alonzo Smith (pictured above with me), became a computer consultant when he retired at 65. He remained immersed in technology until he died nine years later.

More and more senior citizens are embracing technology. What about you?

Three Great Reasons to Give Up the Argument that You’re Too Old

Most small business owners use some form of technology for operational purposes.  Successful business owners will continue to embrace technology as it continues to advance.

And regardless of your age, it’s a skill anyone can master.  Take it from my mom!

Here are three reasons to give up the argument that technology is too complicated:

1. Communication and Collaboration Made Easy. From Google apps and virtual meeting tools, to wikis and internal blogs, technology provides a fast, affordable way of communicating and collaborating.

2. Grow Your Business in a Down Economy. More than 50% of small business specialists considered customer relationship management (CRM), virtualization, or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy.

3. Strengthen Your Cerebral Muscles. Experts believe that the use of the Internet enhances and augments human intelligence as well as improves reading, writing, and rendering of knowledge.  Feel free to give that a big “like” on your Facebook page!

And who knows… the outcome might rock!

The Pew Internet & American Life Project survey shows Americans who are age 65+ love being online once they are there. Not surprisingly, they frequently become enthusiastic emailers, gamers, and information searchers.

Sorry. It’s not going away.

You can stop hiding under a rock and find technology before it finds you – or passes right by!

Begin developing your online skills now,  and you can stay ahead of technology as it continues to advance.

You’ll find that life online is interesting, rewarding and an excellent way to connect with the younger generation.

Gotta run – my mom is texting me (my father would be so proud of her)!

More from Women Grow Business:

Photo of Terri and her dad © Terri Holley, used with permission

Regular contributor Terri Holley is the owner of Creative Blog Solutions and a social media strategist, plus a certified life/business coach. A forward-thinker and relationship-centric gal, Terri supports small businesses who understand the value of using social technologies to build deeper relationships with prospects and customers.

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