Elderly People sign
Image by bensons via Flickr

How quickly things change. The recent Pew study on social media adoption, which I blogged about here last week, showed that, as Nicholas Carr puts it, “blogging is now the uncoolest thing you can do on the Internet.”

His rationale? Teens don’t do it, so it’s not cool:

When I blog these days, I feel like I should be sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a highly absorptive undergarment, and writing posts debunking some overhyped new bunion treatment (iPads?).

It’s a funny post with a point — blogging is long-form communication. People with something to say do it. People who are just building an online social life (“ambient intimacy“) can use shorter signals to accomplish it.

The topic also arose at last week’s PSP meeting, in that students tend to be more conservative about their public information production because they are concerned about career advancement, while older professionals are more secure and interested in exploring boundaries. So, the relative privacy of Facebook and texting and Twitter is probably also a factor.

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


11 Thoughts on "Blogging Now a Refuge for the Old"

This is totally true and awesome. I just saw two teenagers curled up with printed books, looking so in-your-face rebellious that I wanted to slap them. Totally rad. Books, I mean.

Reminds me of an article I read a few years back about rebellious teens setting themselves apart from their peers by listening to “alternative” bands like The Beatles.

*laugh* Nice one, Joseph.

Yeah, “older professionals are more secure and interested in exploring boundaries” is interesting given the trouble we had trying to get senior scientists blogging a couple of years ago.

Hmm, I might have to Twitter this.

Well, “interested” is a relative term here. Their data is from “online adults” (not sure how this is defined, it’s hard to tell from their methodology explanation), and only 1 in 10 of those “online adults” has a blog/journal.

But I’m willing to bet that if you gave senior scientists a choice between pontificating blog-style, sending out a constant stream of limited bon mots via Twitter or communicating via a Facebook wall, that most would go for the long form blog blathering.

Studies like this are always useful in debunking the concept of “digital natives”, kids who are growing up with technology X, and when they come of age, we’re all going to have to adapt to what they’re used to doing.

It shows that as one ages, as one is in a different stage of life, education or working, one had different needs, and uses different tools. We’re all in the same state of constantly adapting as our lives change over time.

Excellent point. I started a post about an Outsell study that I might just have to finish. One point of the study was that age demographics are not very meaningful as an indicator of online habits or behaviors. I’ve been ranting about that forever!

On a separate note, I never thought of blogging (at least when I started in early 2006) as long-form communication. In fact, I thought just the opposite and usually blogged no more than 400 word posts.

Funny how things change!

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