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Will Boomers Be Forced Into the Cloud?

In a word, yes. A number are already there. But a blog post today I discovered through a “tweet” on Twitter set me to thunking about Boomers adopting Social Media and the Web as a whole. The survey on Social Media use by Boomers found that well over 80% don’t read or pay attention to blogs, don’t care for Twitter and rarely participate in forums. I’m not surprised. It goes to my research findings in Atlantic Canada.

In fact, as a whole, the time Boomers do spend online tends to be very Web 1.0-ish. Checking on health information and email being tops in another recent survey. But I argue that Boomers will increasingly adopt Social Media services and Cloud -based services. Why? Pure economics.

My primary example is banking. Banks installed ATM’s just around 20 years ago. And unceremoniously thrust mundane tasks onto consumers. More insultingly they started charging a “convenience” fee for services you perform or when withdrawing from a competitive bank. Then they added insult to injury by bringing on phone banking. But we adopted the services and now Canadians and Americans make over 45% of their purchases using a debit card. Including boomers.

Increasingly, as the cost of Internet access declines, speeds increase and PC’s & smart phones become more ubiquitous this will change access to services. Within a few more years, much of our activities around knowledge-based functions, will be via the Cloud.

Health: Your health records will be online, you’ll set appointments with your doctor via an online calendar.

Banking: More and more activities will be done via online banking; mortgages, loans…in some cases we’re already there.

Government Interaction: Drivers license renewal, license plates, fine payments (already there), deed transfers, various licenses and more…all done online via the Cloud.

But you might say “no way, the Boomers have to much economic clout.” But businesses, many run by Boomers make decisions based on cost reduction and revenue improvement. Cloud-based services reduce labour costs significantly. As always, economic factors such as this will drive Boomers online. And as Social Media continues to add niches, so will they adopt these tools to connect with their families.

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