January 17, 2006

Is Eleanor Rigby Online?

A recent First Monday article by Tara Brabazon knits together a collection of data from the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom to make some interesting observations and arguments about the “greying of the World Wide Web” and the potential for bringing isolated seniors (the Eleanor Rigbys of the world) into closer contact with the wired world.

The Australian data shows that older women (age 65+) are less likely than older men to go online, which is also true of their American counterparts. In her report, “How Women and Men Use the Internet,” Deborah Fallows reported that 34% of men age 65+ go online, compared to 21% of women in that age group (see chart, page 3).

Dr. Brabazon’s article is a window into Australia’s unique situation as well as a good example of how the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s data is used to frame an international discussion.