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New Social Networking Site for Age 50 Plus Americans

Yahoo News reports on a new social networking service aimed at the over-50 crowd, one of the richest and most powerful group of online players and payers.

A social networking Web site for Americans aged 50-plus went live on Monday — complete with an online obituary database that sends out alerts when someone you may know dies and that plans to set up a do-it-yourself funeral service.

The founder of Internet job site Monster.com, Jeff Taylor, launched Eons.com, a similar site to the popular online teen hang-outs MySpace or Facebook for the 50-plus crowd.

Instead of career and school sections, Eons.com has interactive games to build brain strength, news on entertainment and hobbies for older people, a personalized longevity calculator and tips to live longer.

Fascinating. According to the article, about 44 million of the 86 million Americans aged over 50, who also control 67% of the wealth are online. They are only starting to discover the social interactive nature of the web. The over 50 crowd is the hot demographics today.

These are people who have something to say about the world. Blogging would be wonderful for them.

I wonder if Matt is talking to them and other similar social sites for the over-50 crowd about WordPressMU? With the rousing success of , it’s proof positive of a successful blogging community. They should, don’t you think?


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

25 Comments

  1. Catana
    Posted August 15, 2006 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Wow, another demographic to make money from. Isn’t the web great! I’m almost 70 and have absolutely no interest in sites that batten on reinforcing cliches and stereotypes about age. Tell Matt not to worry about seniors. Those with any brains are already using WordPress or will find their way here one way or another.

  2. Posted August 15, 2006 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    One of the panels I attended early this year during SXSWi discussed this very topic. I listened to Ronni Bennet, a pioneer and extremely succesful blogger within the elder demographic.

    She surprised me with thoughts like:
    1. blogging = friendships for elders. When you retire, you lose your social network. Families live far away, friends die… You can start becoming isolated and depressed. This is where blogging and other Internet activities come to the rescue.

    2. Blogging makes you think about your next posting. Your mind is conscious, constantly looking for stuff. What a great way to fight senility!

    She made it perfectly obvious that blogging is great for elders, and we all came out wanting to start blogs for our parents. There were several cute stories told about grandmothers starting to blog and understand all this stuff, and how they felt when they started getting comments, and actual friends. Blogging is indeed wonderful for them. But we do need to make it easy for elders to get on it. Ronni mentioned the need for “ageless design”, which is good for everyone.

  3. Catana
    Posted August 15, 2006 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Cute stories about blogging grandmas are all well and good, but not every senior needs to have the web explained or given exercises to keep their minds alive. For some of us, the web has long been a major force in our lives, and for some, practically the only way available to keep our minds alive. Forgive the rant. I’m just sick and tired of the stereotypes.

  4. Posted August 15, 2006 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that Maria was slandering blogging grandmothers. The process of getting a 12 year old to blog is “cute”, too. And I have to admit that helping an 80 year old learn how to blog and upload family photographs to the web was a highlight of my life as teaching her about the web taught me more about something I’d been working with as a job since the web began. I wouldn’t call it cute, but I loved every moment of it.

    Now, if I could just get her to stop forwarding junk joke emails to me. ;-) She’s outta control!

    I have been working very hard for the past year to get my mother and other family members to blog anything. I have made free blogs available to her and others, and even offered to post their writing on my blogs – all they have to do is email it to me. Even those technically savvy with computers won’t do it. There is something terrifying about putting out your words for the public to read. It comes easier to some than it does to others.

    Don’t forget that blogging has its own stereotypes to overcome.

    For those who are testing the waters, I think having a 50+ only network on the web is a great way for this group to connect. If they can get past their fears and uneasiness of the web, they will hopefully get past their fears of blogging, giving them the chance to share their stories, opinions, ideas, and thoughts, is brilliant. I’d be first in line to read them.

    Personally, I’m sick of cutesy-coo crap I see on MySpace and other similar drivel blog services. It’s time to encourage intelligence and wisdom in blogging!

  5. Posted August 15, 2006 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Lorelle… I’m surprised that my comment was interpreted as ignorance coming from a stereotype. That was never my intention.

    What Ronni Bennet said in that panel surprised me personally… Not the fact that seniors can use the web, but what she said about the meaning of blogging to her. And the cute stories about grandmothers blogging reminded me of my own grandmother, who used to write during her youth, but died without knowing anyting about the Internet.

    My parents are now older than 50, and yes, they are active web users who don’t need to have the web explained to them. But my grandmother’s generation is a little different… and at least in her case, I know she would’ve been adorable learning to blog.

  6. Catana
    Posted August 15, 2006 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Maria, I didn’t mean to imply that you were speaking out of ignorance. It’s just that the stereotypes tend to dominate discussion. And for all my searching, I’ve yet to find any site for seniors that doesn’t feed into them, which is why I remain pretty much a lone wolf on the web.

  7. Posted August 15, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Catana: How about this question: How do we overcome the stereotypes and fears associated with blogging to convince adults (and I don’t mean “old” – I mean anyone over 30) that blogging is fun, effective, meaningful, and of value? To themselves as well as to others.

    A 90+ year old woman recently told me that the Internet was evil, filled with wicked slander and falsehoods. She refused to have anything to do with it. She was bright, witty, and very intelligent, so I was stunned. I’ve heard from people 40, 50, 60, and more tell me about “this blogging business” with words like “useless, evil, childish, gossip, time-waster, rumors, and foolishness”, among those I can say here.

    There are a lot of stereotypes about blogging, and until we talk about these, and help everyone understand that blogging is good for those with good intentions, and that it has value, especially when it comes to sharing knowledge, experience and opinions, especially for those with the knowledge, experience, and opinions worth sharing, the negative stereotypes will continue.

    I’ve spent a lot of time lately, with the development of my family history blog, trying to get the elders in our family to share their stories. So far, only the dead are volunteering. ;-) The concept of a “blog” is, to say the least, uncomfortable for them. So I tell them it’s a website and that seems to appease them a bit. ;-)

    So help us understand how to make blogging legit in their eyes.

  8. Catana
    Posted August 15, 2006 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, I can understand the desire to help elders reach out, but personally, I’m uncomfortable with the notion that we should be convincing everybody how wonderful the web and blogging are. Some people can never be convinced, some just don’t care. There are plenty of other ways to spend one’s time, and to insist on this particular way seems too much like proselytizing. Rather, help them find the ways that are comfortable for them.

    Stereotypes about blogging? Yes, of course, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down the growth of the blogosphere much, if any. The web and all that it offers were made for me, and that would have been true no matter at what age I came to it. By the same token, there are kids growing up with the web who will never be bloggers. To each his own.

  9. Posted August 15, 2006 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Whose insisting? ;-) This is a blog about blogging. It’s part of my task here to proselytize blogging.

    And it doesn’t answer my question. If there are those who would like to share their stories, I’d love to explore how to overcome their blogging stereotypes and fears to help them understand the benefits you obviously have enjoyed by blogging.

  10. Posted August 15, 2006 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Maria:

    Among the precious family writings I’ve uncovered are tons of stories written by my ancestors and mailed to other family members or self-published to share with other family members about their childhood and family stories before they died. Luckily, I’ve received permission from their heirs to publish these amazing stories that give us insights into their lives growing up prior to and during World War I, an often forgotten war. They speak of a childhood before television and radio, where books were rare, so their lives were entertained with their own antics and storytelling.

    In doing so, I’m finding that more and more of our elder family members are “jealous”, so to speak, and slowly wanting their childhood memories told. I’m trying to work with various computer savvy family members to help us record their stories and share them with other family members, so we can learn from each other. I still have to overcome their stereotypical attitudes about the Internet and blogging, but some cracks are starting to form.

    Wouldn’t it be amazing to read your grandmother’s writings today and gleam wisdom from her life to help us get through our lives today?

  11. Catana
    Posted August 15, 2006 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, not fair. You get to use smileys and I don’t. I have to admit I do a bit of proselytizing of my own, but only when someone seems ready to open up to new experiences. I really wish I knew how to get through to people when there’s real resistance. I’m always fascinated by new toys (and the web is the ultimate toy, for me)so I don’t have any personal experience of overcoming resistance to draw on. In fact, one of my grandkids asked about possible forebears, so I’m thinking about creating a rough family history using VoodooPad, a wiki-style app (a first for me)and then burning it to disc for posterity.

    Which reminds me, I signed up recently with a new web app–WetPaint–which allows you to create a website/wiki that other people can participate in. Since it can be collaborative, it might be a nice way of introducing people to creating on the web. http://wetpaint.com

    How about Writely, also collaborative? Or any other app that would allow a period of handholding until the newbie feels secure in doing it on their own.

    Durn it. You’ve made me start thinking about the problem. As if I don’t have enough projects to deal with.

  12. Posted August 15, 2006 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I love that!

    I’m kind of the genealogist in my family, always looking for old photos and stories. There is so little left, and most of it is subject to the mercy of memory… How I wish some of the fondest stories had been kept somewhere. I was just trying to remember one of my favorites from my grandmother a few days ago. It had to do with her many dogs, and how one of them got lost and many years later recognized her in the street when she came back to her hometown. He followed her running behind her bus as she left, but I wish I could remember all the details… My sister and I used to cry with that story, and so many other ones she had… AND the few things we found after she died that gave us glimpses of things nobody knew. For instance, we found a letter she wrote for my 15th birthday. I was only 5 at the time, and she wrote me a letter in case she wouldn’t be alive for it. She did make it, but I never saw that letter until she died. I love that letter. She was such a good writer…

    Earlier this year when I started blogging, a few of my relatives got inspired and joined the blogosphere. Among them, my father in law. He doesn’t post daily, but many of his posts relate stories from his childhood I just adore to read.

    Whether blogging is a dirty word or not, some stories just need to be written before they are forgotten or lost. Yes, I would love to read my grandmother’s life from her own words…

  13. Posted August 15, 2006 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Catana:
    I’m loking for info in your site to see who you are, how old you are, and whether you’re a man or a woman. Can’t find anything, so please don’t be insulted by what I’m about to say… I don’t mean anything bad… I just wonder if this is a coincidence, or intentional:

    Did you know that “Catana” is a Spanish word meaning “old woman”?

  14. Posted August 16, 2006 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    I suspect that finding something to comment upon might be a good way to start. Well, before that, finding something worth reading. There is a lot of junk going by the name “blog”.

    Ronni Bennet’s site has links to specific other “elderbloggers” which is useful to find interesting things to read. http://www.timegoesby.net/

    The ageless project is somewhat vetted, but requires bithdates which troubles me (privacy issues) http://jenett.org/ageless/

    Seems to me that a mega-blog for the over 50s is another way for someone else to garner money. Unless they find me a job.

    But, does anyone find friends on the basis of age or interests?

    How would a group of older (non-professionals) people meet up to share a blog (shares the responsibility for writing something)? by age or by interest?

    {By non-professionals, I mean folks who aren’t like the A -list science bloggers or medical bloggers or IT folks.)

  15. Posted August 16, 2006 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    PS– just noticed the tail end of the headline as comment was posting– since when is the World-wide web only for “Americans”.

    Not all baby-boomers are self-centred.

    “The age of age obsession, By Marilyn Gardner

    When Bill Clinton turns 60 this weekend, the gala festivities to honor him will mark the beginning of a two-month birthday fest, ending in October with a concert by the Rolling Stones in New York…

    When the president turned 60 last month, the event seemed to give him pause. He called himself the “old president, getting older by the minute.” He referred to himself as one of “the gray-haired folks,” as “getting older” and as “old.”…

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0816/p16s01-cogn.html?s=hns

  16. jc
    Posted August 16, 2006 at 2:38 am | Permalink

    Maria:

    Here are the dictionary definitions of “Catana”. Which one did you mean? The weapons or the parrot?

    catana (1)
    (Del jap. katana, espada).
    1. f. Especie de alfanje que usaban los indios y otros pueblos del Oriente.
    2. f. despect. Chile. Sable, en especial el largo y viejo, que usaban los policías.
    3. f. Cuba. Automóvil o aparato mecánico viejo y destartalado.
    —————-
    catana (2)
    (De Catalina, n. p).
    1. f. Ven. Loro verde y azul. Hay otras variedades.
    —————-
    Diccionario enlinea de la Real Academia Española

  17. jc
    Posted August 16, 2006 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Lorelle:

    You said:
    “complete with an online obituary database that sends out alerts when someone you may know dies and that plans to set up a do-it-yourself funeral service.”

    I don’t understand much about computers and blogware. Can you explain
    a) How would a blog detect that I have died and send the obit around?
    b) How could I do-it-myself my funeral if I’m dead?

  18. Posted August 16, 2006 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    A blog would not. The online service would.

    You would register with them as a member and enter in names of people you are interested in tracking. If their name comes up “deceased”, you are automatically sent a note from the online service through their database (all computer controlled) alerting you that someone has died and when and where the funeral is.

    The second part is probably that they have plans to set up a service that will allow you to make your funeral arrangements, presumably before you die. I’m not their editor. ;-)

    I know a lot of people who read the obits as part of their morning coffee and ritual, looking for friends, family, and relatives of friends and family who’ve died. For some of my friends, some of their rare social interactions are at funerals. One friend went to four funerals in one day. Amazing.

    For others who do genealogy research, this is even more exciting as it will give them access to finding family members. Obits carry an amazing amount of personal information such as the parents, siblings, children and grandchildren as well as dates, employment, and associations, helping researchers fill in the missing blanks on relatives’ lives.

  19. Posted August 16, 2006 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    jc:
    I looked up “catana” and couldn’t find the definition I know. I found however, several pages written by Colombians using the word with the same meaning I’m famailiar with… Must be a Colombian colloquialism.

    From the definitions above, “3. f. Cuba. Automóvil o aparato mecánico viejo y destartalado” is the closest one. With the difference that in Colombia, we’re not talking about cars, but people. The word does have a connotation of “older than old”.

    (Getting off track here. Sorry, Lorelle)

  20. Catana
    Posted August 16, 2006 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Maria, thanks for the Spanish meaning. Yes, I’m an old woman, but my name is taken from the Japanese katana–sword. I changed it to C because my real first name starts with C. Sorry about the lack of info. I’m a fairly private person.

    Lorelle, I’m thinking about doing a post on my new blog–ideas about elders’ problems with new technology, the web, etc. And alternatives to blogging. :-)

  21. Posted August 16, 2006 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Always glad to have stirred up some brain cells. ;-) Better put a trackback or link here so we can keep track of you!

  22. Posted August 29, 2006 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I was looking to start a blog on herbs and such yata yata but can’t tell what’s going on here. Why is everything (print) so small I can’t read…are we all over 50? Hello! I went up to tool and look to see if everything in there was on ok and it was???
    Blogspot is not where I want to be any longer.

  23. sonic
    Posted April 2, 2007 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    the leading german website on 50+ marketing: http://www.reifemaerkte.de

    it’s well worth a read over for everyone who wants to know more about the business view on the babyboomers.

  24. Posted June 27, 2007 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    It is Human Nature to fear what is not fully understood, which probably serves most biology well when concerned with basic survival situations.

    A lot of the Anti-Blogging sentiment comes from a disconnection between what is possible, how it can be used, and the term itself – blog. It almost sounds like a dirty word.

    “Journal” however is understood, and explains in it’s name what it is about, and how it can be used.

    “Memoir” is also understood, and succinctly reveals it’s relavance to one’s life, and time period.

    So why get involved in this blog thread?

    I am the CEO/Founder of eGenerations.com , a website launched in September of 2006 for those with Life Experience, and seeks to provide features, tools, and content to the life stage population less interested in watching someone ingest a condiment through their nostrils, and more interested in Connecting, Learn, and Exploring.

    My door is open to feedback, and I want to hear from you!

  25. Posted March 30, 2010 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Dating for the over forties has never been easier, it’s as simple as finding a site you are comfortable with and establishing contact with someone that catches your eye. We all desire some romance in our lives so if you have the time please don’t hesitate to have a browse and hopefully join my UK based dating and friendship service, thank you !


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