According to Forrester Research, the number of boomers who use social networks, including blogs, forums, podcasts, etc., has grown to 60 percent from 40 percent just over the past year alone. At the current pace, boomers will just about be on par with the younger generations within a couple of years.
So, what are they doing? It depends on what life stage they are in. Women are often looking for information about medical conditions, whether for themselves, their spouses, parents or children. As the chief healthcare officer of the family, boomer moms (especially those in the sandwich) are voracious consumers of online tools.
Empty nesters, meanwhile, are often just being curious. They make new friends online, recommend favorite travel spots and look for online courses to take.
Trailing boomers (those between 45 and 50) often still have kids in school and are looking for everything from financial advice to tips on running a booster club.
And guess what? The 45-54 age group is also rocking Twitter. They average higher use than any other age.
What we are seeing is that boomers are increasingly embracing technology to enhance their lives and those of others. Those sandwich moms I mentioned? They're all about sharing what they learn. Give them something of value and they'll tell everyone they know. (If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm in the sandwich and use this blog specifically to share my opinions on all kinds of things.)
Marketers are starting to understand the power bloggers have to influence boomers in their decision making, whether the decision is to make a specific purchase, avoid a particular company, or rally a group of peers. I can tell you as a long-time blogger that in the past six months, I've received more "pitches" from PR firms than in the previous six years combined. Some are are very good and have, in fact, influenced me to write about a particular product or study. Others are completely irrelevant and cause me to roll my eyes and file them in the "never hire this PR person" file.
I'm going to share some insights about blogging boomers in an upcoming webinar that's open to the public, if you'd like to learn more. Go to the International Mature Marketing Network site (disclosure: Edelman is a member of this organization) and sign up to attend. It's one hour on Wednesday, May 20, at 11:00 eastern. If you attend, let me know what you think!
Meanwhile, if you have favorite boomer sites that have influenced your decisions, let me know. (But, please, don't promote your own blog here, OK?)