Photo credit: Dad's iPhone
Mum will be delighted, I'm sure, to have me tell you she just celebrated a big birthday. And for her birthday, Dad got her an iPad.
Now, Dad has always been an early adopter when it comes to technology. Mum: not so much. She has never used a PC, doesn't have a cell phone, and took a while to warm up to automatic teller machines, if I remember correctly. Like many of her generation, Mum has steered clear of computers: not finding them intuitive, she always found it simpler (and friendlier!) to just talk to people if she had something to say.
Over the years, though, Mum has admitted to feeling a bit left out at times, when we kids and Dad would share items of interest by email and on Twitter. Every once in a while we'd talk about getting her an email account, but she wasn't too jazzed about using Dad's computer.
"The iPad changes everything."
A speaker discussing social media said this at the CPRS conference early last month. We've already heard that women aged 45-55 are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, and the speaker was absolutely right: the iPad will only add to that.
Little did I know that only weeks later, I'd see how devices like the iPad will bring new constituencies online in my own family.
Mum has had her iPad two weeks, and already emails regularly, reads all her kids' blogs, checks out YouTube videos, is on Facebook, and uses an app to play Scrabble with my sister and me. Its uncomplicated interface makes it all easy, and takes away the intimidation factor for someone who's never used a computer.
This isn't a sales pitch for the iPad
I don't even have one... yet! But it is worth thinking about from a PR perspective.
As devices like the iPad make online communication more accessible, ever-widening audiences will be looking to communicate with the companies, organizations, and governments that serve them on the Web.
The smart ones will be there, ready and waiting to engage.