Yesterday Mashable and ReadWriteWeb published an interesting study of Pew Internet that shows the group aged 55-64 grew by 88% and aged 65 and above even grew 100% in the use of social networks.
What does this mean for online education? Good times, as this is a great customer group to target.
We had this topic at the first ETCon in July 2009 and I talked about the three different groups of internet users, the Digital Natives, the Settlers and the Immigrants.
My point was (and still is) that if a service wants to attract the Immigrants, it has to be easy to use, similar to services that are already used by this group like email and online banking for example. Obviously, Facebook did a good job in usability hence more and more people from the age group of 55 and above sign up for the service.
We also have to see that people in this age group today are totally different from those a generation before. They are healthier, live longer and have more resources to spend in their years after work life and thus they are trying out new things like photography to take pictures and make videos of their grandchildren. The next logic step is to share those online with friends and family.
A growing number of them will also have seen the first PCs at their workplace and maybe they even had to work with them in the last years of their working life. Therefore, they know all the basics they need to use a PC in their private life as well.
So let’s take a look on some startups that are in the best position to profit from this wave.
Yoocasa is a perfect example for a service that is now sitting directly on the sweet spot. A social network that enables grandparents to share pictures, videos and games with their grandchildren who might live with their parents on the other side of the globe due to a globalized job environment. It is naturally built to be easy to use for both non tech participants, grandparents and children and hence I think this is great news for Axel Cateland and the team.
Livemocha, Busuu, Babbel
Busuu’s top user is actually the perfect example for this trend. She already learned three or four languages via the site and she is using the platform every day. Best agers have the time and patience to learn new things like languages as they also have the time to travel. In August 2009 at the second ETCon, Bernhard Niesner, one of the co-founders of Busuu, shared some interesting insights about the community starting at 1:50 in the presentation below.
Another company which stands for this trend is MindSnacks. Again, best agers have money to spend. Doing my grocery shopping today in one of those big malls, I came across an adventure park for children. What was interesting to see were the grandparents with smart phones taking pictures and videos of their grandchildren. Hence, if they are buying those devices and are able to use them they will also start searching for applications which brings us to mobile learning.
MindSnacks seems to attract a similar mix that Busuu does with its service as Jeff Evans, one of the co-founders told me in this EDUKWEST interview.
As you can see this is a pretty interesting group to target.
- They are still used to pay for content, plus they actually have the money for it.
- They have time and interest to learn and apparently they are doing it.
- They want to connect with their family and friends and share content and, yes, they are doing it.