Online social networking is one of the most interesting and exciting Internet developments of recent years. Usage of sites such as Facebook and MySpace has exploded. At some point, it would be worth asking: what can online social networking can do for older people?
The ILC-UK think-piece – Retirement Capital and Online Social Networking – published today, attempts to give one answer to this question. But actually, this publication is about a lot more than that. It would be a mistake to only view the scope of online social networking through its use by younger people. This technology creates startling new possibilities for communication and exchange, and that is what the publication is about.
Several reviewers of this think-piece have suggested the ILC-UK should start its own online social networking site for older people to engage in intergenerational communication. However, maybe this sort of suggestion misses the point. The infrastructure is already out there on the web; online social networking sites already exist and are free to use. This is what makes it an interesting opportunity: there are no major costs or investments required. The challenge is to make use of what is there.