Soon: a survey of older WordPress bloggers—what do you like, dislike, and need as a blogger over 60?

1961 White House Conference on Aging

1961 White House Conference on Aging

Hello there! I have been looking for any research into bloggers over 60—without any luck. So I’m preparing a survey that aims to discover what you like and dislike about blogging with WordPress. For example, I’ll be asking:

  • What annoys you about other people’s blogs?
  • What problems have you had with your own blog?
  • What improvements in WordPress would you appreciate?

The purpose of the survey is to alert WordPress developers to any areas where they could improve the experience of older people. We do have special issues, physical limitations for example, or perhaps problems with some technology.

My hunch is that more and more seniors are getting involved in the blogosphere. I believe that blogging brings thousands of seniors a creative outlet, a purpose, a mental challenge, and an active social life—even if it’s not face to face, we still are conversing and making friends. All these factors are known to help us to live longer and healthier lives, at the very time when most nations are having to adapt to the challenges of a rapidly ageing population.

When the survey is ready for action, I’ll update this page and I hope you’ll also spread the word.

In the meantime, you surely have your own special bug-bears or delights while blogging. Please tell me, and if possible I will build your questions into the survey.  I would really, really appreciate your contribution.



53 thoughts on “Soon: a survey of older WordPress bloggers—what do you like, dislike, and need as a blogger over 60?

  1. lifecameos says:

    An excellent idea. I will watch out fr your survey.

    1. Great! I know you will have plenty to say

  2. Give me just over 6 months and I will be in the sixties group!! I am interested in seeing what other bloggers have to say. Which brings me to ask, where are all the NZ over 60 bloggers? I haven’t come across many as of yet!

    1. Come on in, the water’s fine! and I hope to track down some more Kiwis.

  3. cedar51 says:

    I blog, I’m over 65 and been online a while. I have the free wordpress “thing” (sorry my brain is off edge a bit tonight…) I just write/post pictures and then hit publish. I used to do the category thing, then I just found it wouldn’t work well. So I don’t…
    I suppose if I was using the page to promote my art or similar, I might learn but for me it’s about sharing to my small band of followers about things I like to do/etc.

    1. That is already valuable information thanks. I hope you will do the survey when it’s ready

  4. alison41 says:

    I’m an Old Blogger of note – I entered the Blogosphere 7 years ago. It took me a while to get the hand of WordPress, and despite some of its difficulties, its a far superior platform to other free hosts e.g. Tumbler, Medium D. I’m sure there are others which I know not of.
    But WP: my big gripe is the difficulties with downloading my pictures into WP. It takes forever, sometimes the pics turn turtle, its SLOW. Oddly enough, I note when I upload pics of book covers from Amazon, that process works well. It’s just my own happy snaps (taken on my cellphone) that WP chokes over.
    I’ll be interested to see what other bloggers think.
    BTW: i’m 76.

    1. Thanks. all problems welcome!

    2. Alison, you are indeed a blogger of note. I am biting my tongue instead of trying to solve your photo problem on the spot, because if you have this problem, so do others for sure. Every bit of information helps.

    3. cheerfulmonk says:

      How large are your pictures? I have my own site and don’t have that much trouble. I use GraphicConverter with “Save as Web” to make them a reasonable size.

      1. Me too! Or if you use a phone camera, you can change the settings so that the files are an appropriate size from the start. (Amazon book cover images are small files.)

      2. alison41 says:

        Thanks for the tip. Will look into it. Is GraphicConverter a WP tool or a separate app?
        BTW: I am using the free version of WP. Paying in US$ is very expensive for us. Our currency is weak against the US$.

      3. Alison41, GraphicConverter is a separate application for editing graphics. But you may find a much simpler one to just resize images: ask Miss Google…

      4. alison41 says:

        Good suggestion – where would we be without Google ?

  5. Bernadette says:

    Rachel, having run Senior Salon for over two years on WordPress, I found one of the most frustrating things for me was to find fellow bloggers over the age of 60.

    1. That’s really interesting. You certainly helped to solve the problem. Of course not all bloggers focus on their age but I am interested too.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    Please let us know (new post) when it’s ready.

    1. You’re right: a new post will be posted. Thanks Dan — I know you’re full of excellent ideas 🙂

      1. Dan Antion says:

        I know if you do a new post, I’ll get a new email. Then I won’t miss it.

  7. Paula Light says:

    I’m closer to 60 than 50, so I’m happy to find bloggers in this age group. I enjoy blogs with poetry, photos, pets, and funny experiences or gripes. Travel, culture, food, fashion, etc. can be interesting if the posts are of a reasonable length. I’m not so much into the long medical tales of woe, political ranting about current events (unless super funny), long fiction especially multi-part, and jabbering on about blog awards. This last thing has to be THE most boring type of post ever! The chain award ~ oh look, I was nominated for the Daisy Doodle Bloggy and now I just have to chain up 10 more bloggers… 🙄🙄🙄… I exit those posts immediately.

    1. Hi Paula, good to hear from you. You remind me just how vast is the range of personal blog topics, and also themes that pop up repeatedly. Thanks so much for offering to contacy other over-60s bloggers for the survey: I’ll be extremely grateful for this!

  8. The survey is a great idea!

    I worked in IT (Information Technology) as a consultant for years, so the technical aspect is not a particular problem for me. I don’t use the free wordpress servers, I rent my own server space, install wordpress software myself, and do all the related server fiddling and security things myself. I used to run my own server from home, but grew tired of the constant vigilance required in keeping security up to standards. I find the assumption that all seniors are in need of technical assistance, because they are seniors, a little insulting… guess who developed this whole internet thing, it wasn’t people under the age of 60. My concerns might be a little out there with wordpress.

    My biggest bugaboo is not being able to get the writing off the sql database and into a text /rtf/pdf form that can be either read by other software, or moved into print. This should be a priority in my view, all of this wonderful writing that can disappear in an instant. Sure, you can back up your files, but what if the internet goes down, can you read the backup at home? What if you want to print a book for your grandkids, or perhaps create an ebook?

    I started “blogging” in 1999, when the word blog did not yet exist, I was writing an online journal, a web page that I hand coded and published myself. All of those pages I wrote were easily accessible in text format, read by most software, and I could easily access them and read them on the backups I kept at home.

    In 2010 I bowed to change and switched to WordPress, where my pages were stored remotely in an sql database, inaccesible now to a text reader, and totally dependent on internet service, my files could no longer be accessed at home. I didn’t like it, I still don’t like it, because if I want to direct access these writing files offline, I have to setup apache on my home computer to access a backup locally. This is beyond the abilities of most computer users, almost all of them, which means that those written words need a server setup and a technical person to allow offline access. Another layer of expertise between the writer and the written material.

    So what I want from WordPress software, not just the free wordpress server version, is a means of exporting the blog, quickly, simply and in its ENTIRETY, to text format, rtf format, and pdf format. Some might say that Anthologize works, but for those of us with years of frequent entries, Anthologize is painfully labour intensive and far too time consuming to extract thousands of entries. It is not quick or simple to export the ENTIRE body of work with Anthologize.

    I realize this is not the usual type of request from a senior citizen, or from any free wordpress bloggers, it is not representative of the majority, but this is a real concern that might affect the majority.

    A second concern is that the ability to follow blogs is easy enough to accomplish if you are using the wordpress free blogging software, networking is easy. BUT if you run wordpress from your own server it is difficult, and sometimes impossible. Even worse, if you have a blogspot blog, or use some other free blogging service, you cannot network at all with WordPress free blogs. This is dividing the blogging world into corporate streams, which I dislike. I have had to create a free wordpress blog, a free blogspot blog, etc., to access the networking functions of each, they don’t mix. I would like to see a technology that allows EASY networking between blogs, regardless of the server software that is being used, I would like networking to be free of proprietary interests.

    1. Maggie, these are two valid concerns, and I see exactly what you mean. I will pass them on in their entirety. Your second point bothers me frequently, and if anyone would have an interest in creating a way to like, follow, and comment on blogs across different platforms, it would surely be the open-source community of WordPress.

    2. Maggie I too am a retired geek. For fear of losing my posts I have kept a copy in a word doc (with 2 backups) that’s proof of my background eh? After 3 years blogging small daily blogs that word doc is at bursting point so I will start the second edition. When I decided on this method I painfully went back through the posts copying and pasting them. Not ideal but workable. Hope this helps.

  9. Ally Bean says:

    Here are two things that bug me about blogs, written by anyone, I guess. But for those who are new to blogging at 60+ years, some things to keep in mind.

    1) Make the title of your blog unique and use the title as your url. When those two variables match it’s easy to remember a blog name and to find it online when you forget where you bookmarked it.

    2) Don’t put yourself in the picture all the time. Less with the photos of how you look, more with the photos of what you see.

    1. Ally, I think I replied to this already! But if not, thank you.

  10. Count me in. I’m definitely an over-60 blogger who loves it. Following…

    1. Will do! thanks Jacqui.

  11. Great idea! I will have lots to say and look forward to reading the thoughts of others. Good on you for doing this!

    1. I can’t wait! Oops, it’s me I’m waiting for… Thank you!

  12. rummuser says:

    I am 75 and most of my blogger friends are also seniors. I look forward to your survey and shall request all my blogger friends on WP to respond too.

    1. Thank you Ramana! That will be very helpful.

  13. Great idea Rachel I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Thank you: this is music to my ears.

  14. Look forward to receiving your survey.

  15. Roy says:

    I guess the question that keeps floating to the top is, is there a difference somehow between over-sixty blogs and under-sixty blogs? And if so, why? As an old f*rt blogger, do I want my online persona to be ageless, or should I self-identify? If the former, can I pull it off, and if the latter, am I just giving myself an excuse to be less than sparkling and/or engagingly acerbic? (Snarky, is I believe the term the kids are using nowadays.)
    Also–just thought of this–as an older blogger, am I supposed to be real wise, or something? It’s just me; I’d rather make people smile or LOL than furrow their brows and nod slowly.
    Some rather scattered thoughts . . .

    1. Eternal questions for you alone to answer. I’m interested in the fact that so many bloggers do identify as old, either in blog titles or our usernames or the topics we write about. I imagine that such age-focused blogs are outnumbered by older people who do not focus on age, but I don’t know. 60 is a very low cut-off point for considering yourself old, but I don’t want to exclude anyone. And let’s be ourselves, puh-lease. I suspect that when old people were rare, there might have been a requirement to be wise; but now we are common, we’re off the hook, aren’t we? Thanks for your comments: made my day.

      1. Roy says:

        I guess I haven’t been reading that many blogs, because I was sort of surprised to see the responses you get in comments, indicating, among other things, how much age-centric interest is out there. I suppose it’s what comes after “mommy-blogging!” But, I note that I tend to bring up age often–it is in fact a big deal to me, just because it affects me, increasingly, in so many facets of my life. But I suppose I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do about it. So, all that said, I’m with everyone else–waiting to see what you come up with!

      2. Aha! Me too!

  16. Did you know that in the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, survey of trust in organisations and institutions, “bloggers” came lowest – least trusted. Why do you think?

    1. Fascinating. I would need to know the context, including the date. Why? I suppose bloggers frequently have no credentials and are attached to no reputable institution, and are not called “friends”. Perhaps they have the worst of both worlds: a label but no parent institution?

  17. Aunt Beulah says:

    Such an interesting project, Rachel. I’m going to have to give your question about bug-bears and delights some thought. Nothing jumped quickly to mind. But then I’m still a little sluggish from my afternoon nap! In the meantime, I’ll look forward to your survey.

    1. Aha, you will have much to offer. I’m on to it after a weekend away.

  18. Even if the +60 is not indicated in blog title or username, I ponder the ageism thing when posting personal topics. It bugs me when I second-guess myself . Mainly I write poetry and humorous prose and am drawn to other bloggers who do so. What bugs me is rambling posts — am a fan of brevity. I also dislike blogs that are into monetizing or selling something to the 60-somethings. I like reflective and energetic posts that are simple, clear. And please let’s not hide our 60-plus lights under a bushel! I look forward to seeing your survey, Rachel!

    1. Thank you Susan, I’m nearly there, and I’m really looking forward to more of these fascinating responses.

  19. Robyn Haynes says:

    Great idea Rachel. I look forward to responding.

  20. Ellen Hawley says:

    I don’t think this is a function of my age but I can’t rule it out: Every time WP improves things, they’re worse. The new stats page? I went through all kinds of contortions to find a link to the old one. As did many other bloggers–something I know about because I found the link of a WP forum. And so forth.

    1. Good idea to hang out in the forums to find out what bothers WP users. You are right, these issues affect people of whatever age.

  21. talebender says:

    First of all, thanks for the follow! I plan to follow-back, and shall watch for your survey of older bloggers.
    My blog is a potpourri of thoughts and tales, the sort of blog I prefer by others (as opposed to a dedicated subject)…but there’s a place out there for all of us.

    1. Totally agree! I am expecting a glimpse of the big picture in the results: blogs represented are extremely varied. I hope you’ll do the survey.

  22. Trev Jones says:

    I seem to notice a lack of over 60’s males who blog. There are plenty of great ladies blogging, but mainly about fashion and lipstick etc. There must be so many of us over 60’s with tons of stories that can be blogged.

    1. I’ve noticed a lot of older fashion bloggers too, but our topics
      go far beyond that. You’ll find some older guys indirectly through this blog, and I’m very keen to discover others and expand my knowledge. If there are topics that show up frequently on men’s blogs, they would included travel and fitness and philosophy. More?

      1. Trev Jones says:

        I like to blog on anything, from music to photography to going for a walk or something that’s happened during my day. I do try to add a little humour in wherever possible. I avoid politics.