If you thought online social networking was just for young people, you'd better think again, as last week a 79-year-old from the Midlands became the most popular video blogger on the Net.

If you are over forty you've probably never visited youtube.com, let alone uploaded a video clip to it. Yet at almost twice that age, Peter from Leicestershire, who goes by the name geriatric1927 online, has done it and become inter-nationally famous almost overnight.

Geriatric1927's first post attracted more than 1.5 million downloads in a week and his follow-up posts are proving just as popular.

Initially all we knew about Peter was that he was a widower and lived in a county in the middle of the country. But, as he releases new videos - he is up to twelve now - he is slowly filling us in on the story of his life.

Anybody, like myself, who has a granddad that lived through the war, will be familiar with the content. As a teenager I never listened to mine, so why Peter's quietly spoken unanimated monologues are proving so popular on what is supposed to be a "youth medium" is a real mystery.

Is it just the novelty of seeing an old wrinkly face among all those spotty young ones all trying for their fifteen minutes of fame by performing wacky and jackass stunts?

Perhaps the fascination with Peter is his anonymity, which he seems to relish. H owever, the hunt to establish his real identity is underway, with most of the broadcast media news desks trying to find out who he really is. Peter has reported that his e-mail in-box is full of offers for exclusive deals. He is sure someone he knows will soon dob him in.

He is also worried he's coming over as a grumpy old man, yet he is the coolest granddad on the net, using MSN Instant messenger to make new friends. He did go to grammar school though, so he was obviously a bright lad.

When Peter was born most people didn't have access to a phone and computers, let alone the internet, which had not even been invented.

Now digital technology seems to be his servant as making, editing and uploading correctly formatted videos is no mean feat, even for the so-called "net natives" of the current teen generation.

The fact is Peter is almost certainly the oldest person ever to use YouTube. Not bad for a so-called "net immigrant", as people over forty are now called - although some suspect Peter might have a grandchild working the technology in front of the rocking chair.

Even if that is true, Peter has inspired many hundreds of other net immigrants to join YouTube and start their own video blogs, which is tremendous news.

After all, it's usually "old people", who have been around the block a few times, who have something worth saying. n Chris is managing director of internet consultancy WAA WebXpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at webxpress.com. E-mail chris@webxpress.com