Monday, January 28, 2008

"Geriatric1927" starts the Silver Surfers campaign about computer access for the elderly

In the sidebar on the right I have an earlier link to the work of "Geriatric1927" in the  "YouTube videos for COABC's" section. That is the online name of Peter, an eighty-year old British senior whose channel, with over two million views, has earned him a place in the top twenty "Most Subscribed Directors of All Time". He talks about his own experience as an elder. He once said that he disapproves of people masking their identity on the Internet, so he used his birth year as part of his online name to ensure that his age would be crystal clear to young people interacting with him. Since I subscribed to him last year, he has increasingly focused in upon "intergenerational communication", and also upon the potential of the Internet to address mobility and isolation issues for his demographic.

This month he posted the video "Help for the Elderly", which he describes as: "A request for help in my attempt to introduce and encourage those elderly people who may be lonely and/or parted from their families to embrace the Internet and to reap the benefits even though they may be confused and frightened of all of the technologies". This week, he has started the blog Silver Surfers and made it the home page of his "Ask Geriatric" website.

One of the video responses is from Ben Arent, a product design student who is doing his final project upon this theme. He notes that this subject is "quite a current thing" and that there has been a recent new European Union directive, with a 43 million euro budget, about including the elderly in the information society. After Ben looked at my posting, he left a comment with the EU official website address "i2010" . A further google search found a central "thematic portal" site about the launch of the Europe-wide "Aging Well in the Information Society" research initiative. On that one, the amount quoted is a billion Euros.

No doubt part of Ben's motivation is social engagement, but he also sees an opportunity for himself in launching his professional career as a designer. He is planning a "social communication" product focused mainly on making email easier. In the video below he explains his design framework. He visualizes "negating the pain of adoption", then "imprinting" by marketing to this "undermarketed group" and "inciting" their engagement with his product. Here is a link to his website "Arent"

I'll be monitoring to see how this initiative unfolds.


  1. Hey Nancy.

    Thanks for the link to my video. The EU directive are a bit of a mess, but is a good starting point if u want to find out more.

    I shall keep you posted.

  2. Olive Riley,aged 108, who lives in an aged care hostel at Woy Woy,50 miles north of Sydney, Australia, is probably the oldest of the world’s 108 million bloggers and its oldest YouTuber.

    She celebrated her 108th birthday on October 20, 2007.She was born in Broken Hill in 1899, when Sydney was the capital of the British colony of New South Wales, ruled from London by an aged Queen Victoria.

    Physically frail but mentally alert, Olive raised her three children on her own, survived two world wars , the Great Depression of the 1930s, and worked as a barmaid, an egg sorter, and a station (ranch) cook.

    Olive’s blog, The Life of Riley, has a huge Internet following. Prepared by her helper, international film maker Mike Rubbo, and based on his interviews with Olive, it attracts hundreds of enthusiastic comments from many countries, and from bloggers of all ages.

    The London (UK) newspaper The Sun recently published a story about Olive:

    Ray (Dad) White(94) a Tennessee tomato grower, is America’s oldest blogger. His website is