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IABC Victoria members Ellis Jones and Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria recently collaborated on a research study to test commonly held assumptions. The results remind us how quickly everyone is adopting online technologies. What may have been correct 12 months ago may be an assumption today. In an environment of rapid change affecting both industry and government, online community engagement has become increasingly important to ensure stakeholder participation.

Considerable research has been gathered on seniors’ internet use and we know that their personal access to and use of the internet continues its steady trajectory. However, there is little investigation on how they employ web 2.0 tools, such as those found on social media platforms, in their daily lives.  Tools, which in recent times, have provided a platform to so many communities which previously struggled to have their opinions heard. 51% of Australia’s population is on Facebook and we do not consider seniors to be a part of this subset. There is an absence of detailed study around their participation in online discussions. This absence “assumes” that they do not use social media and therefore will not participate in online community consultation activities.

Kate Crawshaw, Director of Engagement at Ellis Jones noted:

The study results are good news for the commonwealth government as it rolls out the national broadband network and government 2.0 strategies to deliver healthcare, education and other services online. Importantly, it opens the door to greater engagement with older people to understand their concerns.

Social integration is crucial for the overall wellbeing of older people who are more prone to social exclusion because of the natural ageing process. There are significant benefits in the ability for those with reduced mobility to connect and communicate with people within their pre-existing social group and others with shared interests.

To download a copy of the report, head to their page here…


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