“So it turns out if you want to find out what the future looks like, you should be asking women. And just before you think that means you should be asking 18-year-old women, it actually turns out the majority of technology users are women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. So if you wanted to know what the future looks like, those turn out to be the heaviest users of the most successful and most popular technologies on the planet as we speak.” Genevieve Bell Director, Interaction and Experience Research, Intel Labs at Intel Corporation Source: Atlantic Monthly, “Sorry, Young Man, You’re Not the Most Important Demographic in Tech”
As a woman who fits this demographic, I welcome the news. At 17, I wrote my first computer program in a class at the University of Illinois. As a digital pioneer forging new frontiers for decades, not only do I use technology, I embrace it, live it and report on it. That’s me in the picture covering the Consumer Electronics Show for Sears Blue Blogger Crew.
Technology brings people, business and life together.
Thanks to Rose Tibayan for posting a clip from Ms. Bell’s study about women as technology leaders in Atlantic Monthly in the MsTech Facebook group, which is where I found out about the article.
Based on a talk Ms. Bell gave on Australia’s Radio National “Big Ideas” last month, the article is a call to action to consider this demographic. I’m interested in exploring how companies relate to the women over 40 market.
When I speak to business groups I often ask, “Who here has a 23 year old managing their social media?” About half the hands in the room go up. Why? Many people in the audience think only young people get technology. With companies like Apple making technology easier to understand, do you think generational barriers to using technology will start to fade away?
To me, it’s intriguing to think about a mind shift from seeing the face of tech as one 20 year to a diverse group of people that crosses cultural, generational and gender lines. [Full disclosure: I have three children: ages 17, 20 and 22 who serve as an informal board of teen/college student advisors.]
Categories where women lead tech adoption
Among the categories mentioned . . .
- Mobile phone voice usage
- Mobile phone location-based services
- Text messaging
- Every social networking site aside from LinkedIn
- All Internet-enabled devices
- Health-care devices
In searching for a video to include, I found Ms. Bell to be a fascinating speaker. Here’s her Rage Against the Machine? Keynote from Interaction Design Association. In the 43 minute video, she talks about the history of automation and technology, including France’s defecating duck and Thomas Edison’s electric fairies, and why when designing for technology you must focus on the relationship, not the interaction.
Your Turn: How do you reach out to women over 40 via technology?