Since I wanted the website to cater exclusively to Baby Boomers, I started searching for a domain name to illustrate that idea. I found that other people must be interested in Baby Boomers because most of the domain names with either of those words were already taken.
I finally settled on an acronym- SNABBO-Social Network Allowing Baby Boomers Only.
Once I had purchased the domain name, I became consumed with figuring out what the website would look like and what features it would offer. I looked at as many other social networks I could find online, noting what I liked and didn’t like about each. Most of the ones that tried to appeal to the Baby Boomer demographic seemed to focus on topics that pertained to a middle aged person’s life. I thought that was useful for getting important information out to my age group. But, personally, I preferred to think of myself as younger and hipper, than someone who has embarrassing incontinence issues when they laugh too hard.
I felt that Snabbo should be a haven away from the realities of middle age problems. Aging parents, Viagra, and menopause need to be discussed, but not on my Home Page! I also began to notice something about my friends. Over leisurely dinners (since no one needed to rush back to let the babysitter go home) these friends were now more inclined to reminisce and tell stories from way back in high school and college. Turns out they really did miss their glory days.
Here is what I wanted the website to do for Baby Boomers:
- Allow them to post a photograph from the past as their profile picture. A photo that would let people recognize their old friends even though they might not recognize them now.
- Have a profile registration process that gleaned as much information as possible from the member. This would enable someone to search for another person and find them even if they only remembered the person’s first name and elementary school they attended. In other words, the information in the database would be fine-grained. The more information you added to site, the greater the search result yields. I also hoped that these kinds of detailed searches might allow scattered families to reunite, help genealogy enthusiasts’ flesh out their family trees, and aid any adoptee searching for their biological roots.
- As the sixties rolled through the Boomer Generation, many people of my generation began to experience a desire to “repair the world”. A concept that ancient Hebrews referred to as Tikkun Olam. The ideology of the 60’s and 70’s had once sparked my peers to get cause-conscious. I wanted to embrace that idea again on Snabbo. I wanted members to use the website to make other members aware of any worthy causes, charities, or needy individuals. I wanted to have links to such great organizations as kiva.org, sixdegrees.org, and booksforafrica.org.I hoped that Snabbo might enable the strength of the Baby Boomer population (roughly 78 million in the U.S.) to be a force for good in the world.
- Join similar interest groups - I wanted Boomers to be able to explore interests and hobbies that they may have put on hold while they were too busy working, raising families, etcetera.
- Lastly, I wanted Snabbo to be easy to use. Researching online use by Baby Boomers, I found that, although the figure was growing, only a small percentage of my peer group was internet savvy, much less a member of any social network website. There were all sorts of things to consider in this area. The font needed to be a bit larger, explanations of how to use the features had to be prominently displayed and no assumptions could be made that the user had ever been exposed to tools that are commonly incorporated in navigating a website.
A big list, I know, but I have big hopes …