I was chatting (actually speaking out loud) with a fellow blogger last week about the nature of blog buzz - consummate early adopters, the entire lot of us, long bored with old web innovations like rss and del.icio.us and digg, even though they're absurdly cutting edge to many of our less-enchanted contemporaries. So, we hype Second Life and Jaiku and Twitter and Steamy and Flock. And, if our earnestness reaches critical mass, industry pubs pick up our buzz, translate it to "practical" (if sometimes tone deaf) marketing knowledge and main stream press occasionally follow the lead and ... well, really, what's it all matter, when more than half the agency types I know haven't even found ProAm content intriguing enough to read A blog yet, much less open a reader, try out new 2.0 toys, etc.
Anyway, I mention all this apropos of an intriguing conversation that I had with my agency's CCO last week. He suggested that as we age, our use of the Internet becomes more practical and less (my word) social.
If we marry that with two other trends, we start to see how age-old generational profiles establish themselves online...
- Trend1: Facebook: The 18-24 year old set increasingly relies on Facebook for a wide-range of human communication - from networking / establishing social connections to routine updates and communication to the flock (the replacement to email)
- Trend 2: Facilitated Creativity: Online and offline, partially homemade, scrapbooky, Home Depot-enabled projects hold sway. The middle-aged, middle class stretches its creative spirit with a little help from less-than-raw ingredients
Offline, call it, cliques and parenthood and curmudgeony behavior
Online, it lives as:
- Explorers: Curious seekers of new ideas, widgets that make life more fun, and friends. They are multi-media sharers of their life stories. At once trusting and cynical, they're hoping that fun is fulfilling or security isn't so safe.
- Inspiration seekers: Their dreams have become inconvenient, with so much else to do in a day. But they still long for play - for the feeling of being engaged and passionate and accomplished at things small enough to control and big enough for (subtle) bragging rights. They have self doubt, but, not so much that they won't try their hand at a little memory building - especially with a friendly boost.
- And, personal experts: After a life time of trial, they get it. What works for them, what doesn't. What they care about, what's just noise. They're looking for practical answers, easy ways to see the news that matters to them, their loved ones' photos, the address to a place they trust. They want convenience, not experience.