Older adults onlineSamantha Murphy (@MurphySamanthaJ), a Tech Reporter at Mashable, reported this morning that American seniors are becoming more tech savvy. For the first time ever, more than half of U.S. adults over the age of 65 are online, from surfing the web to checking email.

A report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 53% of seniors use the Internet. Although this demographic is still less likely to go online than younger age groups, it shows that this segment of the population is flocking to the web more than ever before.

In total, about 82% of all online Americans over age 18 access the Internet each day, while some 70% of seniors say they go online every day, as well.

Additional findings from the Pew Report on older adults and internet use include:

  • One third (34%) of internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18% do so on a typical day.
  • Email use continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors. 86% of internet users age 65 and older use email, with 48% doing so on a typical day.
  • On gadget ownership, 69% of adults ages 65 and older report that they have a mobile phone, up from 57% in May 2010. Even among those currently age 76 and older, 56% report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47% of this generation in 2010.

A Pew Research Surveyfrom just last year found retirees age 65 and older are the fastest-growing group using social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Think of the legal needs of the people in this age group.

  • Many successful business people are in this demographic. I am not far from that age 56. Businesses have legal needs of all kinds.
  • Estate planning, whether income was earned as an employee or as a business owner.
  • Sale of a business or transfer of a business to the next generation.
  • Sale of a home, the acquisition of a condo or a home in a planned community or the purchase of a second home in a warmer climate.
  • Advise on investments and the structuring of partnerships/entities relating to those investments.
  • Counsel on elder care issues ranging from early divestiture of assets to qualify for government benefits to the selection of care facilities.

The list goes on and on.

If you are a lawyer sharing content of value and/or nurturing relationships with friends, relatives, and business associates via social networks, you have a competitive edge over other  lawyers not doing so.

Note too that your audience goes beyond people in this age group. Your online audience includes reporters, bloggers, and average folks who are sharing information online with people who trust them.

By establishing relationships and building a strong word of mouth reputation with those influencers through your online activity, you are reaching clients and prospective clients who are connecting online with these influencers.