William Jackson, M.Ed.
The “Silver Surfers” of the digital age are growing at a tremendous rate in Africa. Africans over 50 are creating Facebook profiles, they are Micro-blogging on Twitter, Instagramming their photos, creating YouTube channels and just a little bit of SnapChat. “Silver Surfers” are online actively engaged across the blogosphere
sharing their experiences, knowledge, stories, wisdom and even humor.
They are talking about their lives in the present and the past, they are talking about sex, relationships, gout, childcare as grandparents and even taking care of their adult children as these children deal with unemployment and social challenges.
African Bloggers over 50 are talking about politics, economics and starting businesses. They are into cell phone usage that is transforming the face of Social Media. Digital communication is the way they stay connected to the world and family and friends. The Internet contains continuous developing platforms for those 50 years and older to digitally travel locally, nationally and internationally. The challenges of obtaining a Passport can be overcome by hopping on the Internet to “visit” local, national and international sites. Travel is free, in the comfort of a residence and portable when done on cell phones and tablets.
“Silvers” in Africa are learning that in order to stay connected to their grandchildren they need to learn now to connect with them to “see” what their children’s children are up to online. Using Apps are the tool of choice to interact and be engaging.
Celebrating cultural events, special occasions, community events and even attending political rallies can be done online and the ability to contribute to the discussions to share ideas and opinions to a large mass of people. Chinua Achebe once said about writing, “my weapon (for change) is literature.” Africans have a weapon that is magnified by the reach Social Media has and Technology provides.
Using applications that allow Face to Face communication, video recording, and audio Chat helps in keeping connected and aware as each generation gets older and older. Age does not stop discovery, creativity exploration and being curious. Age embraces the quest of more knowledge and this keeps the brain youthful, creative and innovative.When cars are connected with Wifi, restaurants have free access and
even connectivity is available in bathrooms being connected is not a challenge. Silver Surfers are asking several questions when they go traveling; Where are the restrooms and what is the Wifi code….
Silver Surfers are building their own networks that create growingcommunities and societies that are digital. Learning the acronyms of PLC – Professional Learning Communities and building PLN -Professional Learning Networks. African over 50 are becoming activists in their nations, sharing their opinions passions and encouraging change. “I think knowing one’s history leads one to act in a more enlightened fashion. I cannot imagine how knowing one’s history would not urge one to be an activist.”
John Hope Franklin -Activism begins with a passion for change, seeing a wrong that
needs to be corrected and inspiring people. William Jackson 57 and Aida Correa 51 speak at conferences at WordCamp internationally in Central America and Canada.
Being past the half century mark is not a deterrent to learning and growth. Sharing content, wisdom and experiences to younger generations.
The increased presence of Silver Surfers that are Bloggers, PodCasters, Instagrammers, VBloggers, MicroBloggers and the diversity of content creators is represented by those that are 50 years and over seen at WordCamp and other technology conferences.
The dictionary defines Silver Surfers as: noun: “an elderly person who is a regular or enthusiastic Internet user. The word elderly will be argued because those Silvers are determined in their quest to show seniors are growing influencers. William and Aida are FORD VIP Bloggers, showing that their knowledge and does make a difference in their communities. The dynamics are changing with dictionaries defining the Silver Surfers influence in an age of digital transformation and growth. As seniors enter into the Silver years of their lives they are a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and resources that are untapped for younger generations.
The Internet and associated tools helps to connect families with Silver parents, grandparents and other family members. Keeping hearts and minds active, engaged and youthful. When the mind is youthful the spirits and body follow, even if joints are touched with arthritis. The integration of smart, intelligent, intuitive, comprehensive and AI elements benefits Silvers using technology. Youth, teens, young adults and Silver Surfers are starting a new era in collaboration and connections with tech as the bridge between generations and diversity is crossed. “Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.” Chinua Achebe “Things Fall Apart