I recently found myself on 2 different occasions at a table full of senior citizens trying to explain what search engine optimization and web content writing are.
Wow. It begins with that innocent little question, So what do you do? Followed shortly by the not-so-innocent question, Search engine WHAT?
Try and explain that one in 30 words or less so that everyone at the table will understand you. And say it loud and clear, or you will be repeating yourself. A lot.
Now, all of these seniors are pretty smart. Yes, they have computers and use e-mail.
They’re not the folks that just got their AARP cards, these are the ones flirting with 70 and 80. They are not yet movers and shakers in cyberspace, but they know what’s going on in the world around them and they don’t want to get left behind. They do simple things online, like check the weather forecast or send flowers to a friend in the hospital. They want to do more, they’re just not quite sure how to go about it.
So I found myself explaining basic things that I take for granted, like web pages, keywords and the importance of ranking, to two very interested groups.
Both topics of conversation quickly shifted to their same main concern about using the Internet: How do you know what to type in to Google (or Yahoo or Bing) to get the information you want?
A valid point with an easy explanation. Some other questions included:Where does the information come from? How do you know if it’s true?
Now, this is a savvy bunch that is well-aware they are being targeted for every scam known to man. They don’t like it, not one bit. They are very distrustful of what they read and hear and their filters are up. They also want to learn more and get involved in things besides water aerobics and Canasta Night.
I found myself wondering why so few have taken the time to show our senior citizens how to do a simple Google search or to go online to buy things when they’re not allowed to drive. We’re clearly missing out on a huge population of people with a little extra money and a lot of extra time on their hands. Yes, there is the untapped marketing/advertising aspect of it, but they also have a basic need for information whose roots have shifted from books and television to blogs, tweets and feeds. They want to know how to find it.
Our seniors have realized the Internet is here to stay, and they are catching on to how to use it. The number of basic Internet classes at the local rec center is increasing by popular demand. So watch out — they’re coming, slow but steady.
And when they ask you what a search engine is, don’t forget to speak up so they can hear you.
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