They've traded granny
glasses for bifocals and Woodstock for blue-chip stocks, but Baby
Boomers are still a force to be reckoned with on the Internet.
Although it might look as if every site on the Web is tailored for
Generation Xers, Boomers still make up an undeniably attractive
market. Numbering about 75 million and earning incomes that average
$75,00 or more, the former rebels are today's demographic dream.
So, it's no wonder that an ever-increasing number of Web sites
and portals are focusing on this set. No one can pinpoint the Baby
Boom generation exactly, but anyone born from 1948 to 1964 is
probably in the club. That puts most Boomers in their 40s, with the
leading edge in their early 50s. However, a lot of Boomers aren't
ready to slow down yet.
"People who are in their
early 50s today are not into AARP (American Association for Retired
People)," said David Henderson, founder of the Boomer Cafe
(www.boomercafe.com). "My partner Greg Dobbs and I were talking
about magazines (for our age group) and he said, `This doesn't
relate to me at all. I'm out kayaking and mountain climbing."'
Henderson's and Dobbs' Boomer Cafe is anything but a retirement
site. About 30,000 people visit the cafe each month, reading
articles on spirituality, travel, books, families and relationships.
"We want to be an on-line magazine for people who are really
interested in new things," Henderson said.
Whereas Boomer Cafe operates on a shoestring (the site has yet to
see any profit), other, slicker sites have launched with firm
MyPrimeTime (www.myprimetime.com) is backed by entertainer Joan
Rivers and has a partnership with Fidelity. ThirdAge
(www.thirdage.com) is partly backed by CBS. Both are going for the
lucrative Boomer market in a big way and they are tailoring content
to focus on an active lifestyle, rather than on nostalgia.
"The site is about changes going on in your life: caring for
aging parents, kids moving out, finding romance in mid-life," said
Mindy Cebers, public relations manager for ThirdAge. "We know what
works and what doesn't. A lot of people would be offended if you
called a 52-year-old a senior."
Well-written articles on travel, finances, health, fashion and
pop culture make this site worth a visit. On-line classes focus on
travel, finding romance and Net issues. There are more than 1
million registered users at ThirdAge.
At MyPrimeTime, a recent article focused on women who are
pregnant in their 40s -- hardly a typical topic for "seniors."
Sub-titled "A Personal Trainer for Life," this site focuses on
mid-lifers as active participants. Articles on boxing for women,
real-estate investing and "The Zen of Work" make this a site for
those with eclectic interests.
Still, when many people think of Baby Boomers, they think of
aging hipsters who still play air guitar to Jimi Hendrix music when
no one's looking. Surely, nostalgia plays a big part at Boomer
sites, because the '60s was a decade that's hard to forget. In light
of today's celebrity idols, such as 'N Sync and Leonard DiCaprio,
many people would like to go back to the Beatles and "Easy Rider."
So, reminisce about tie-died T-shirts, go-go boots and Afro
hairdos at Baby Boomer Memory Bank
(www.octanecreative.com/boomerbaby/index.html). The new site
archives recollections of those odd little relics of the past, from
push-button car transmissions to Sting-Ray bicycles. They are
seeking input, so tell them all about your memories of Rat Fink toys
or purple bell-bottoms.
Baby Boomer Headquarters (www.bbhq.com) is a vast site that
covers everything from the 1969 moon landing to parenting issues.
There are sites for '60s trivia, a reunion area for looking up old
classmates, polls, book reviews, featured records and even a tour of
the entire site.
"A grandparent?" Now there's a shattering life change for any
former hippie. Baby Boomers Homepage (www.netwalk.com/ duchapl)
addresses this and many other mid-life issues. The '60s get a
special salute and a doctor answers questions about such unhappy
surprises as peri-menopause.
Classic rock reunions, oldies music, radio stations and trips
back to the '50s and '60s are features at Boomernet
(www.boomernet.com). Text-heavy and still under construction, this
site focuses on the music of past.
Boomers International (boomersint.org/home.htm) has plenty of
facts and figures about the graying Me Generation. There's a
bulletin board and chat room here plus articles on politics, music
Sign up for the Boom! E-zine (www.boommalls.com/frontpage.html)
and get articles delivered straight to your e-mail box. Chat with
other folks who remember eight-track tapes and ironing hair at Baby
Boomer Bistro Page (http://www.bbb. org.uk/). This site is based in
the United Kingdom.
What happened the year you were born? Zip over to Boomer
Initiative (www.babyboomers.com/ index.htm) to find out. Don't feel
old, but chances are that Dwight Eisenhower was president.
For many mid-lifers, the '60s is the only decade worth
remembering. The era of psychedelia and free love, the '60s still
spawn devotion, even among kids who dote on Austin Powers. Here are
a few Web resources:
The '60s (www.slip.net/scmetro/sixties.htm). All we can say is
"far out." This site has myriad links to everything from Bob Dylan
to John F. Kennedy to Carlos Santana (new again).
Psychedelic '60s: Literary Tradition and Social Change
(www.lib.virginia. edu/exhibits/ sixties/index.html). In-depth
articles on the Beatles, Timothy Leary and a wonderful section on
The '60s (www.hippy.com/60s.htm). Haight-Asbury, The Summer of
Love and everything groovy get center-stage at this site.
Sixties.net (www. sixties.net). More amazing links including
radio archives and "Jimi Hendrix Digital Voodoo."
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