I try not to over-analyze things, but this post is probably going to be an exception.
Today I was going to post about another new boomer/senior oriented site that is tagging itself as the Facebook for Boomers. Then I received 2 more notices about similar sites. So I decided to postpone posting about those until next week and question how many more of these are going to spring up before the fallout begins.
Dick Stroud, a UK 50+ marketing consultant who has been reporting on this phenomena much longer than I have, said it best on his 20 plus 30 blog when he posted about Boomj back in March:
"Well, good luck guys with the new venture. I still have a pile of concerns about the viability for the swarms of social networking sites that are hitting the Web. But, you don’t actually need to make money from these ventures, just generate enough traffic to convince others that they can make money, then sell and get out."
Speaking of traffic, Eons is apparently getting 1 mil clicks a month now and the 2008 candidates are staking out their territories there. But here's my question. Do we (boomers/seniors) really need or more importantly, want our own social networking website(s)? Why can't we just carve out our own space on a site like Facebook and take advantage of all the development and investment that FB and many of their 3rd party add-on companies have undertaken? For example, I have no problem stating on FB that I belong to "The Boomers" group in order to interact with other boomers. But I also want access to the energy and innovation that is so vital to Facebook. I don't care if it comes from a 20-something or a 60-something.
Many will disagree, but so far, I see no real reason to social network with people just in my age group. While I'm proud to be a boomer, I am just as proud that I can communicate on a reasonably level playing field with people young enough to be my grandchildren. Some people might say, that's not possible because of ageism. I was never much of a fan of Facebook but after I linked to a post about ageism there, I decided to start poking around FB to see if I could find this to be true. Well, it may be crow-eating time because I've had no negative feedback so far about my age when I interact with younger members. I don't deny however that there may be a fringe element there. With that many members, it's inevitable.
In my humble opinion there is a better way for our generation to participate in Social Networks and if someone else doesn't implement the strategy that is blatantly obvious, (well, to me anyway) I might just take a run at it myself. In the meantime, I'll keep posting about new boomer sites that quite honestly, I don't think more than 2 or 3 of which will be around in a year.
I'm not saying that there aren't several niches that shouldn't be addressed separately in our demographic. Dating sites, health care, investing and travel are some that come to mind immediately. To my mind, even though we are a huge demographic on the internet, why are new companies trying to re-invent an already huge wheel? Have they looked at the depth and breadth of Facebook? It's huge.
You know what's funny? I have the same feeling about this that I had 27 years ago when I worked for IBM and predicted that IBM's future would be in PC's and software. Most of the people I worked with in the industry laughed at me and said IBM would never build a PC or get into the software business. For those of you who are too young to know, if it wasn't for IBM, Bill Gates would still be coding. But that's a rant for another day and that's all for my rant today and I'm sticking to it.