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My Dad, the “early adopter”

By Linda Forrest

My Dad is what is called an “early adopter.” I’ve always given my parents jocular grief about the many “gadgets” that they have but their interest in cutting edge technologies has been prevalent throughout my entire life and provided me with an advantage in my education and later, my career.

A tremendous gift that my parents gave me was the introduction of computers to my life at a very young age. I literally do not remember a time before computers, which is rare amongst my peers in their late twenties and early thirties. I was typing before I could write longhand and have used a plethora of applications through the years, from word processing on up to audio engineering software.

An incredibly intelligent man with a technological mind, my father was always interested in computers and wrote programs for my brother and me when we were young. The family loves to tell stories about me, a toddler, being held upright by my brother so that I could type “run” on the keyboard to make the application do its thing.

As technology has advanced, my Dad has kept up and is without a doubt the most tech-savvy sixty-something that I know. He was a webmaster for the site of my parents’ business and his various social groups before most people knew what a web site was. He got involved with a messageboard that connects him with people he hasn’t seen in 50 years and uses Skype to talk with his old shipmates around the world.

Because of his interest in and willingness to learn about new technology, my parents have the whole world at their fingertips – emailing, surfing the web, online banking, VoIP and more are a snap for them. My friend’s mother communicates with her and her brother almost exclusively by text message. Family friends in their 70s who travel a lot keep us up to date on their journeys via email. In stark contrast, I know people in this age group who don’t have an answering machine and are still convinced that this “computer thing” shall pass.

As our population gets older and the huge numbers of baby boomers enter their senior years, which group do you think is more prevalent – those who embrace technology and are learning how to use it to enrich their lives? Or those who want no part of it and are convinced that the ATM is no substitute for going up to the teller? How will marketing to this age group change as time goes on?

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