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Trading Bingoing for Blogging: Grandparents Get Going Online

Based on the web posting “Forget your Mother Blogging, your Grandparents already are!” by Peter Ejtel
Edited Article and Commentary by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert

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Seniors are often stereotyped as only enjoying leisure activities like shuffleboard, knitting, bridge and bingo. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those fine pursuits.) Many people also think that the elderly don’t use the Internet, or only do so when prodded by their children.

Well, think again. In this Internet age, the aged are aggregating online, and taking up a hot new happening hobby: blogging! Of course, shuffleboard, knitting, bridge and bingo can make great subjects for blogs, so seniors who combine blogging with a passion for one of these pastimes (or almost anything) may just find themselves becoming a “cyberstar”. Or at least a star in their grandkids’ eyes. More details on this trend follow below. --Dr. Don Rose

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Introduction

Shuffleboard. Needlepoint. Checkers. Bridge. Bingo. Web logs.

Web logs?

Bingo. You heard right. Seniors are opting to opine online. Blogging is the new bingoing.

Web logs (or “blogs”), in case you haven’t heard, are websites typically written like an ongoing journal or diary, updated at regular intervals of the writer’s choosing, with the most recent entries on top, and sometimes even comments from readers. Once considered to be mainly the domain of adolescents - as well as middle-aged pundits fond of posting rants, tirades and diatribes - blogging is fast gaining a foothold as a new leisure-time option for senior citizens.

Meet the Bloggers

More and more seniors are taking to the Web and talking about their lives, weaving strings of online yarns rather than knitting strings of long fine yarn. Senior blogs can entertain and inform those who read them, as well as foster increased self-esteem and mental fitness for the bloggers. Take, for example, the self-proclaimed Oldest Living Blogger. "It’s too easy to sit in your own cave and let the world go by, eh?" said Ray Sutton, the 73-year-old O.L.B. and retired electrician who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. "It keeps the old head working a little bit so you’re not just sitting there gawking at TV."

But wait. Is Ray Sutton really the oldest blogger? It appears he has been one-upped in the upper-age category. There is another man, Ray White, who is 92 and blogging! His creation: Dad’s Tomato Garden Journal.

The rise in senior blogs illustrates how online writing is valuable to every demographic. There are as many uses for a blog as there are people who understand their value as a communication tool. Older bloggers say their hobby keeps them up on current events, lets them befriend strangers around the globe, and gives them a voice in a society often deaf to the wisdom of the elderly.

"It brings out the best in me," said blogger Millie Garfield, 80, who writes “My Mom’s Blog” with occasional help from her son, Steve Garfield, a digital video producer. "My life would be dull without it." Blogging can bring family closer together, and may just be the first "new technology" your Granny will be able to use effectively.

GrandParents Blogging
Laptops and long-lived ladies. Lovely!

Mari Meehan, 64, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been blogging since July. It’s given her a voice in her small resort town where, as a relative newcomer, she felt rebuffed in her efforts to get involved. Inspired by other local bloggers she’d found on the website for The Spokesman-Review newspaper (in Spokane, Washington), Meehan discovered it was easy to get started. "If you can read, you can do it," she said. She calls her blog “Dogwalk Musings”. Mari’s premise: write about her thoughts during morning walks with her St. Bernard. Her posts range from nature sightings to rants about politics.

Closing Thoughts

Blogging is easy, it’s rewarding, and many tools to do it are low cost or free. If any group has the time, knowledge and informed opinions to say something meaningful, it's seniors.

Luckily, many are saying something. Three percent of online U.S. senior citizens have created a blog, and 17 percent have read someone else’s blog, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Online 18- to 29-year-olds are, of course, even more wired: thirteen percent have created blogs, and 32 percent have read someone else’s blog, according to Pew. So take note, boomers and middle-agers: if your kids are doing it, as well as your parents, why not you?

Which makes me wonder if somewhere, sometime soon, some Grandma is bound to complain to her boomer baby, “You never call, you never blog!”

Resources

Suddenly Senior: This website has a page which they describe as “links to the 222 best senior sites on the Internet, updated daily”; it contains a brief but useful mini-guide to blogging and blogging sites, and the rest of the page is a good general resource to bookmark and visit.
http://www.suddenlysenior.com/links.shtml

Blog populi: CNET compares 4 personal-publishing tools.
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3589_7-5020985-1.html

This article is primarily based on a web posting titled “Forget your Mother Blogging, your Grandparents already are!” by Peter Ejtel . The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions.

The article on this Life Alert website and the content it is based on are covered by a Creative Commons License. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work -- under the following conditions: Attribution -- You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Please go to the Creative Commons License site for more information on the CC license that applies to this work.

Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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http://www.lifealert.net
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