Do you actually know anyone without an email address?

My wife and I recently asked ourselves this question as we pondered various etiquette points for our daughter’s wedding invitation.

This week we are preparing to send out invitations to our daughter’s wedding, which is set to take place in August. On the RSVP card, we simply included an email address for invitees to indicate whether or not they will attend.

But what about the old folks? Isn’t a snail mail option to reply the best route for that demographic?

While the general stereotype is that 21st technology has left seasoned citizens in the dust, that broad-brush assumption is simply not the case for most all old folks we know.

My mom, on the cusp of her eighth decade, is proficient in email and Facebook. My wife’s folks, deep into their 80s, are at least email savvy.

When my wife and I got married in the early 1980s, email and smart phones didn’t exist. A new Census Bureau report just how much the country has progressed in Web access since 1984.

From the report, issued in May 2013:

Computer and Internet use at the household level has changed greatly in recent years. In 2011, 75.6% of households reported having a computer, compared with only 8.2% in 1984 and 61.8% in 2003.

Similar shifts occurred for household Internet use, as 71.7% of households reported accessing the Internet in 2011, up from 18% in 1997 (the first year the Census Bureau asked about Internet use) and 54.7% in 2003.

So, long story short, between wifi at home and at the coffee shop/library/McDonalds, I think everyone is e-mail capable on the wedding invite list.

Alas, perhaps not. As we reviewed the outgoing wedding invitations today, my wife and I settled on the fact that 94-year old Uncle Art should receive an actual stamped envelope to mail back his RSVP. Art Karst is a retired western Kansas farmer who has driven his Ford Crown Victoria for at least 300,000 miles and is still known to make long treks to visit family. He has neither a cell phone nor email address.

While perhaps not the last man on earth without the internet, Art is one of the holdouts. He won’t "like" your produce company’s Facebook page or Tweet about American Idol.

He is the exception that proves the rule. Our world is Web-connected and we can rely that (nearly) everyone in it is within reach.

No doubt, that fact has changed RSVP methods for wedding invitations.

The internet also has wrought great changes in the worlds of produce marketing and publishing, to name a couple of topics close to our hearts. What will continued immersion in the digital stream mean for the industry and consumers going forward?

It is hard to say. There may be a technology backlash when some Americans have had enough of the world-watched web and stories of spying eyes.

However, since I know you aren’t like my Uncle Art (you are reading a blog, after all) it is my advice to tune into industry conversations and stay up with the times on The Packer Market  and other social media.