Being younger demographically doesn’t mean you’re younger, digitally-speaking.
Your Real Age isn’t your Digital Age, according to Wells Fargo‘s survey into Americans’ use of advanced tools for daily tasks. The categories of peoples’ digital maturity include:

– Digital teens, who are people who are online but don’t use all tools at a ‘high level’

– Digital novices are those people who manage basic tasks online but aren’t yet connecting with others online or managing more complex tasks

– Digital adults have the highest digital age, as demonstrated by their using online tools for daily tasks, interacting with others online, and using tools for entertainment.
Thus, a digital ‘adult’ can be a teen, and a digital teen, an adult. But a digital adult can also be an adult, even a senior, Wells Fargo found.

An example of not using an advanced tool to its fullest is a digital camera: while most Americans use a digital camera to capture images, not everyone manages them online by editing via Adobe Photoshop Elements or sharing them via Flickr or Twitter.

Wells Fargo discovered that the ‘most digital’ cohort by age was in fact thirty-somethings, and not twenty-somethings.

While younger people have generally integrated online/advanced technologies into their daily lives, more older people are doing so. While the survey found that 59% of adults over 70 years old responded that they do not use any online entertainment technologies, that means that 41% do.

You can take Wells Fargo’s digital age survey and measure your personal digital age on their website; click on Take the Digital Age Quiz.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:
There are several implications that can be drawn for health and health care from Wells Fargo’s intriguing poll. First, 92% of respondents communicate via cell phone, among these 79% of people who were classified as “digital novices.” Thus, most people own and pay for a platform that can receive simple text messages that can bolster health (if they so choose to opt into such a program).

14% of mobile users bank via mobile phone. We know that financial information is tightly held, very similarly to health information. That over 1 in 10 cellphone users opts into financial management via mobile phone is a beginning for people to get comfortable with sharing Very Personal Information on-the-go.

While text messaging for health is downright flourishing in other parts of the world, the U.S. is behind in this communications mode. Nonetheless, the fact that 30-somethings’ collective digital age is sharper than a 20-something tells us not to judge a citizen by their demographic age. The ethos of digital living is penetrating older age cohorts in surprising ways. Health apps will be adopted as that ethos continues to be adopted by consumers as they seek to manage wellness, and conditions, in a natural workflow through their daily lives.