The Generations Are A Changing

but not as we were expecting. Defining the generations according to age and habits online is an ever movable feast (for example do you know what age Gen X is supposed to be?). What I do like in this report is that the generational divide is narrowing – there are some things that are becoming commonplace across all the generations, listening to podcasts for example. This is a good thing.

Here is the 2010 update from PEW

There are still notable differences by generation in online activities, but the dominance of the Millennial generation has slipped in many activities. Milliennials, those ages 18-33, remain more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone. In addition, they still clearly surpass their elders online when it comes to:

  • Use of social networking sites
  • Use of instant messaging
  • Using online classifieds
  • Listening to music
  • Playing online games
  • Reading blogs
  • Participating in virtual worlds.

However, internet users in Gen X (those ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to engage in several online activities, including visiting government websites and getting financial information online.

Finally, the biggest online trend is that, while the very youngest and oldest cohorts may differ, certain key internet uses are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These online activities include:

  • seeking health information,
  • purchasing products,
  • making travel reservations,
  • and downloading podcasts.

Even in areas that are still dominated by Millennials, older generations are making notable gains. While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, for instance, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.

Update in response to Matthew’s comment here are ages of the different generations. It’s interesting to see how the generations are defined, for example, the Millennial generation are named after the turn in the calender and refers to those born after 1980 – the first generation to come of age in the new Millennium.

Definining Generations

You can download the full Generations 2010 Pew Report here