the new york times has an interesting article today on why we’ve been seeing social networking sites refocus their attention towards an older crowd. the argument, and a good one, is that the younger demographic tends to stick around only as long as you’re on the cutting edge or only as long as you’re the latest trend. a few days ago it was friendster, yesterday it was myspace, today it’s facebook, tomorrow it will be something completely different.
the older demographic, on the other hand, likes the comfortable. once they’ve learned how to use one site and have created a network, they are most likely to stay there regardless of the latest trends.
with that in mind, here’s a quick look at 4 social networks and the demographic they target.
target demographic: 20 years and older
what can you do with it: this is one social network that doesn’t really much explanation. but in case you’ve been hiding under a rock these past three years, facebook let’s you do pretty much everything you want. from networking with your friends, family, and co-workers, to sharing any kind of digital media (and this doesn’t even include all the fun you can have by integrating 3rd part applications into your profile).
target demographic: 30 years and older
what you can do with it: multiply lets you create, post, and view blog entries, photographs, videos, music, links, events, and private messages to/from other users.
target demographic: 40 years and older
what you can do with it: teebeedee is not as developed as the rest of the networks mentioned here. from what i could see, while you can make profiles to network with other users, the site is mostly focused on question-and-answer discussions about different topics.
target demographic: 50 years and older
what you can do with it: eons lets you create and personalize your profile using photographs, videos, and widgets.
with almost 80 million baby boomers (almost three times the number of teenagers) and the number of internet users who are 55 or older being the same as the number of internet users in the 18-34 age range, it makes sense to try and capture a market that’s equally as large but far from being as fickle as the younger crowd. furthermore, given that sites like facebook and myspace already have a majority of the younger market in their paws (and are facing competition from dozens of other virtually similar networks) it seems not only logical but rather smart to tend to the older, untapped market where you can exist with almost no competition.