Are social entrepreneurs thinking too Justin Bieber, ignoring older generations?

Some entrepreneurs find focus and power when concentrating one a single niche in the market and exploiting this to gain a sizeable income. This works. However, when dealing with launching a social media site, demographics melt away as communities grow in size. Can we afford to think young?


facebook-articleThe world had their funny bones tickled when they heard that dad, mom, grandma and grandpa where increasingly logging on to Facebook, Twitter and Google+. According to Fast Company, “the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket. This demographic has grown 79% since 2012. The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+. For Facebook, this group has jumped 46%; for Google+, 56%.”

The Pew Internet and American Life Project says that social media and internet usage allows older people to form connections with people from their past, which help support them when they retire or embark on a new career.

It’s about support. So much so, that some sufferers of chronic diseases, extensively use the internet. “Having a chronic disease significantly increases an internet user’s likelihood to say they work on a blog or contribute to an online discussion, a listserv, or other forum that helps people with personal issues or health problems,” says Pew Internet.

Targeting the older generation

It would not be advisable to market young and funky when there are millions of other users who may opt for a competitor’s clear-cut method of communication. Here are things to consider when building your soon-to-be social media empire:

  1. Does your design keep in mind the tastes and accessibility options for 45-64 users?
  2. What type of advertising would you place on your site, if you knew grandma was watching? Not “Find a sexy girl near you” right? I’m sure grandpa wouldn’t mind.
  3. Should at least some of your marketing attempts involve support groups? This may be a buzz kill for the younger generation but what about your aunt in agony?

And last but not least: if there are wildly successful websites that allow married people to cheat safely or support millions of health queries and support posts a day, why isn’t there much social media designed for more mature age brackets, places where 45-64 year old users can communicate without the Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus news?