Musings from Mike Atkinson on Internet strategy, usability, and more...

Generational views of technology

One of the recent Barna research studies explores the penetration of technology in American culture. There are a lot of interesting findings in it, but I really liked the summary of attitudes toward technology in the different generations. It very much confirms what I’ve heard and observed through the years.

Before I quote that, I’ll list their definitions for the generations, so we’re all on the same page:

  • “Elders” are adults born before 1946
  • “Baby Boomers” were born from 1946-1964
  • “Busters”’ birth years were from 1965-1983
  • “Mosaics” were born from 1984-2002 (the oldest Mosaics are currently ages 18 to 21)

Now the quote from David Kinnaman, Vice President of The Barna Group and the director of the research:

Elders only embrace services and products if their life would be worse off without them, so the only devices that are owned by more than half of Elders are cell phones and DVD players. Most Boomers have a love-hate relationship with technology; they realize it is important to facilitate today’s lifestyles, but they find their comfort zones violated by new devices and processes. Busters are much more comfortable with technology and are able to use it effectively as a tool for work and leisure. For Mosaics, the tech world represents an indispensable means of identity, relationships, and self-expression.

In short, technology is widening the generational gap – and that digital divide is expected to grow even deeper as the consumer audience splinters into hundreds of micro-audiences and technology tribes.

That is exceptional intelligence for anyone in the world of commerce and/or ministry.


  1. I know we always like to label these generations, but it’s much more than that which forms our views of technology. For me, my father is a software engineer, so I have been around computers my whole life, even though I would fit in as a “Buster” in your description. However, I do almost everything I can with technology, and am a programmer myself. Now, other’s about my age may be a bit less comfortable, but for me, it’s always been there in one form or another. I’d even argue that the difference is really in exposure to technology than simply one’s age.
    GuruGreg    Tuesday, March 28, 2006    #
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