What is the future for older audiences and ‘The Digital Divide’?

How are media companies looking at how they can Connect, Create and Contribute to their older audiences?

REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

By Clare Cavanagh | May 26, 2019

Each year in May, people engage in celebrating and honouring Older Americans’ Month in the U.S. Established in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, this day encourages people to recognize the contribution made by senior citizens in history and pay tribute to them within their local communities.

This year, the theme is Connect, Create, Contribute and, as media companies continue to explore new opportunities to reach out and engage with older Americans, perhaps this provides the perfect stage to do so.

Over the last few years, there has been a focus on ‘The Digital Divide’ – with reference to younger audiences being born into a technological world and older generations unable to keep up. While a large number of ‘Millennials’ fully invested in digital ways of community, it’s statistically reported that one-third of adults aged 65 and over have never used the internet. However, this does not mean that focus should and can only be on one age group over another. Emerging technologies potentially enhance the daily lives for everyone, despite demographics.

REUTERS/Mike Segar

By creating and promoting new ways to reach out and encourage the use of digital innovations, media companies are providing beneficial support to much wider audiences. According to TechCrunch, companies such as Tech Allies provide training with tablets and digital apps for older participants, which allows them to communicate more directly and efficiently with family, friends and anyone across the planet.. This brings together digital communities and has proven to remove the sense of isolation for older audiences by living a life infused with technology.

REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Arianna Huffington recently declared that, “The real digital divide is about access to our most essential human qualities.” Media companies have recognized the power of voice within technology on the simple basis that humans are naturally trained how to interact directly from birth. Google’s “Next Generation Assistant” is a good example of this, using voice assistants to potentially allow older communities to embrace new ways of connecting.

While the idea that complex systems requiring a better understanding of interfaces and keeping up with ongoing development have put up a barrier for the older generation, perhaps it will be the spoken word that will bring people together on every level.

While you consider how your business can Connect, Create and Contribute to older communities within the U.S. and beyond, explore the rich content in Reuters Connect to inspire you to create a new way of contributing.