Understanding Extrafamilial Intergenerational Communication: A Case Analysis of an Age-Integrated Online Community

Lin Li, Xinru Tang, Anne Marie Piper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In today's society, the relationship between younger and older generations is increasingly characterized by tension and conflict, with each generation holding deep-seated biases and stereotypes against each other. Fostering meaningful communication among generations is one way to avoid age segregation and dismantle associated biases. This paper presents a case analysis of an age-integrated online community (r/AskOldPeople) with an in-depth analysis of the most popular types of questions as well as the types of discussions within this community. Using content analysis of the top 999 posts, we describe the exchanges between different generations in this community, with people sharing experiences and perspectives, seeking advice, reminiscing about the past, and engaging in community building. Using thematic analysis of the same corpus, we also identified four themes characterizing the types of discussions prompted by the questions. We find that younger and older generations use the community to learn about experiences of the past, co-navigate psychosocial challenges across the lifespan, understand and commiserate about aging, and collectively make sense of crises and changes in the pandemic era. We discuss the meanings behind the themes and how r/AskOldPeople, as an age-integrated online community, supports intergenerational communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3610052
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume7
Issue numberCSCW2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 4 2023

Keywords

  • age integration
  • age segregation
  • intergenerational communication
  • intergenerational engagement
  • older adults
  • online community
  • Reddit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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