Mar 23, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive: The new AARP-backed social network for seniors

A screenshot of Senior Planet Community

Image: Senior Planet

A new social network, backed by AARP, aims to bring seniors together, focusing on discussions around common interests.

Why it matters: While some may joke that Facebook is already the social network for seniors, the new effort aims to offer a community explicitly for older Americans looking to connect with one another.

Details: Senior Planet Community, launching today after a month of private testing, is the creation of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) — a nonprofit affiliated with and partly funded by AARP — that offers in-person and online classes for older Americans.

  • The social network's approach is something of a return to the early days of online services, with message boards centered on topics such as gardening, fitness and photography.
  • Senior Planet Community is fully non-commercial, with no advertising or fees.

Between the lines: Senior Planet started offering in-person tech classes at a single senior center in New York. It had expanded to four centers before the pandemic and then shifted heavily into online classes, with the social network evolving out of that.

What they're saying: Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS, said initial goals for the service are modest. "I do think eventually it would be great if we had a million people. Right now I’d be really happy to have 100,00 people using it well."

  • Kamber also hopes that the new service could inspire others to create more tailored Internet services to offer alternatives to the tech giants.
  • "There is a moment right now," he said. "It feels like there is an opening."

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to identify the nonprofit group behind Senior Planet as Older Adults Technology Services rather than Senior Planet, and Tom Kamber's title has also been corrected.

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