Digital Love: Older Adults, Technology & Finding New Love Online
Joseph F. Coughlin is director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (http://agelab.mit.edu). His research explores how demographic change, technology and consumer behavior drive innovations in business and society. Coughlin teaches in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Sloan School's Advanced Management Program. He is author of the new book The Longevity Economy: Unlocking the World's Fastest-Growing, Most Misunderstood Market (Public Affairs, 2017).
Happy Valentine’s Day!Cards, candy and…connecting online? Older adults are among the fastest growing age group meeting and matching digitally. Worldwide more older adults are finding love online. Match.com reports that 22%of its members are over age 50 in an industry estimated to generate more than$1 billion in online sales and growing at nearly 10% annually. Why? As the famed New YorkYankee’s manager Yogi Berra observed – “you can see a lotby looking”. Consider the following social realities for peopleover 50 that makes online versus more 'traditional' strategies a natural outlet for finding new love:
So do older digitalromantics behave differently than younger people online? Yes, similar to observations made in a previous post interviewing Eons.com Jeff Taylor, older adults use social media differently than younger users. Most information comes fromsurveys conducted by online dating sites. Here are some observations from datagleamed from match.com, eHarmony.com and others.
Older digital romantics are:
The ‘etc.’ is loaded, so beforeyou click off concluding that older digital romantics are stayed and lackingspark you should consider the findings of recent studies at Iowa StateUniversity and Australia’s Swinburne University.
Iowa State researchers Professor Alicia Cast and graduate student Jamie McCartney found that the Internet makes everything faster. The researchers studied 175newlywed couples and found that digital romantics tended to be older –moreover, courtship time was markedly less. Newlywed couples who met online or onother social networking sites reported a far shorter time to marriage. Thecourtship period for digital romantics was a mere 18.5 months compared to those‘traditionalists’ who courted offline taking 42 months to tie the knot.
Swinburne University’s Sue Malta is a leading researcher on older online dating behavior. Reading her workis well worth the time and a fun read too. Sue found in her study ofAustralians ages 60 to 92 that her online subjects were not subdued by time ormedium. According to Sue, "My older adults were more overtly sexual online…" (because)"they could be".
As life online becomes the new norm for allage groups – especially among older users – finding digital love is a naturalextension to all the other more mundane activities people do digitally..
What Can Other Businesses Learn from Love Online?
Is there a lesson here for other businesses? Yes, these are just a few but should be considered, especially by those who still believe that anyone over 50 is not willing to try something new:
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.