Blogher, the women’s blogging network, recently held its annual business conference in New York City where the results of their survey about How Women Use Social Media [pdf] (a misnomer since it covers only blogging) was unveiled. The ages of respondents are 18–75 (sorry, Millie, and other elderbloggers who are older). Some findings:
- 36.2 million women participate in the blogosphere (publish, read or comment) at least once a week
- 43 percent would give up reading newspapers or magazines to “keep the blogs they read or write”
- 21.1 million read or post comments at least weekly
- 15.1 million post to their blogs at least weekly
- 67 percent have completed college
- 46 percent have incomes higher than $75,000
- GenXers are the largest age group in the blogosphere
- What the survey calls “matures” (ick!), age 61-75, are the smallest age group
Almost as many elder women (78 percent) are getting news and information from blogs as younger women (80-83 percent), and 60 percent of elder women are shopping online.
This is the Blogher report header for the page on women's media habits, but the subhead, “Online participation rates decline with increasing age.” erroneously suggests that elders drop out of online usage as they get older.
No evidence exists that women (or men) stop using the internet or blogging because they get older. In fact, the opposite is so – increasing numbers of elders are learning to go online and some are creating blogs. The surveyors probably mean that fewer old people online than young, but that's not what the page says.
By far, the largest age group of women bloggers are GenXers (age 25-41 according to this survey) following by Boomers (42-60 in this survey, but who are more commonly identified as 44-62 this year), Millennials and pulling up the rear with the fewest bloggers or blog readers are “Matures.”
Not to beat to death my frequently-made point about language, but I don’t like answering to Senior and I damned sure won’t be called a Mature. It surprises me that Blogher would use this clumsy euphemism to describe old people in a major survey (or anywhere) since it was one of their founders, Elisa Camahort, who coined the term "elderblogger."
In Blogher’s survey, 24 percent said they blog to earn money. There is no mention of how much they earn, but a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project about bloggers [pdf] in 2006, had this to say about blog income [emphasis added]:
“Even as a subset of bloggers gain (sic) prominence in the media and as traffic to blogs grows, blogging is not exactly the most lucrative of hobbies, let alone professions. Only 15% say earning money is a reason they blog and only 8% of bloggers report actual income. These bloggers are mostly older than age 50.”
Since the Blogher bloggers are mostly younger than 50, I don’t know if or what inference can be drawn from these two surveys. What hasn’t been done in several years that I’d like to see is a survey of elderbloggers and other online users – women and men 50 and older. Our age group is growing faster than any other and is an economic force to be reckoned with.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Tamar Orvell tells Sherry's family story of growing up black in Atlanta in the 1960s and Sherry's remarkable mother in Baby Pictures.]