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The Growing, Graying Online Population

Are you online? Do you have a computer at home, or access to one at your library? Are you over 50 years of age?

If so, you are not alone. A recent survey of AARP members shows 65 percent are now online. If you're purchasing items on-line, chatting with long-distance loved ones, contacting elected officials, conducting research, playing games, or following friends on Facebook, you’re crossing the digital divide.

The term “digital divide” is used to define the have and have-nots of information technology; meaning those who get it and use it - and those who don't, can't or won't. Many people view electronic media as belonging to the young. Yet the gap is closing more every day, thanks to increased access and education. The range of skill sets in what is considered “older Americans” can’t be simply bucketed when speaking to Web or computer literacy. Keeping in mind that the face of AARP now includes Baby Boomers who are starting to retire, it’s no surprise to us that those recent survey numbers will continue to rise.

AARP Colorado currently has 800 Twitter followers, 300 Facebook friends and our Community Page grows daily, while nationally the numbers add up exponentially: all of which points to a burgeoning online, older audience and not just in our digital community. Social media connections are becoming more common to the 50-plus, as much as between family members as with old and new friends.

AARP’s online efforts mirror where our members are heading. Our efforts will create a more connected community both online - and locally - by linking important information, programs and services as well as to encourage continuing education, civic involvement and volunteerism. We look forward to leading the gray expedition across the digital divide. Check out AARP Colorado Web site, our community page, and please, feel free to friend us on Facebook at AARPcolorado or follow us on Twitter @Coloradoaarp. We’re only a search engine away!

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