Attempting to win over the Senior CitizensPosted: October 31, 2011
Over the course of the semester i have been entering more and more senior citizen chat rooms. Recently i have been on seniorchatters.com. In majority of the chat rooms ive entered i have been having a lot of trouble getting the other members to answer my questions. I originally entered this particular chat room with hopes to disguise my age and chat with them like a fellow peer. However, eventually today i wanted to see if anyone was willing to answer some questions for me so i announced I was a student. I asked one lady who had answered a few of my questions when she thought i was a senior if she would private chat me. The rest of the bench said ooooooooooh and ahhhhhhh and basically called me a pervert. Then once she ignored my private chat i decided to ask the general group if anyone was willing to help me with my project. I got completely ignored and no one in this chat room seems nearly as friendly as the ones in seniorsite. I decided instead to just observe the conversation. The lady i offered to chat with ‘blocked me’ and the rest of the bunch explains how they are gonna ‘get me.’ One of them even said that her/him and I have some talking to do. I decided to explain myself because i was pretty mad at the user called ‘pad’ for assuming I have bad intentions on the site. Now they are all yelling at me basically because Im to young to be in the chat. I proceeded to get blocked by majority of the users and then banned entirely from the chat. In all the chat rooms this has happened but typically one or two users offer to answer my questions and love that im a student. Based on my observations it seems as though all the chat rooms are a mix of friends or people who have never met. However in this chat and a few others they have meet ups and it seems like a lot of the users spend majority of their down time in the chat room. They talk about casual things but also can talk about much deeper issues. Even though some are married, a lot seem to be lonely or widows/widowers who come to chat with people they can trust. For seniors, a lot of them seem to be pretty used to the internet and some even taught me how to change my font and icon. I think based on a lot of my research the seniors who use the internet and these chat rooms do not have interest in speaking to younger people. They all were immediately offended when i announce I am a student, and still to this day have only found one woman willing to answer all my questions. I think a main difference between “average” internet users and senior citizens is the idea of support and community. Yes we all use facebook and twitter and connect and create virtual communities. However i do not think its typical for people our age or the average internet user to get as personal with strangers as senior citizens do. I think they feel much more comfortable about opening up on the internet about their personal lives. Yes, they are aware of predators and creeps but even users who say its their first times are discussing illnesses and personal issues. I think that is a huge difference. Some average user share personal information in terms of a facebook status or tweet, but i dont know anyone i would consider an average internet user who uses chat rooms as frequently as the senior citizens im observed.