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Older Adults Can Be Creators Too, Here’s How!

The way forward for older adults is bridging the digital divide by allowing these seniors to be fully comfortable with the online space and find people with similar interests to interact with through it.

Our economies are changing swiftly, with rapid progression and application of technology in every step of life. From the bygone manufacturing and industry led economies, we are today in the flux of a shifting economy. It is the era of creators and direct to consumption retail. The global economy has changed significantly during the pandemic and in India, the influencer market is estimated at $75-150 million a year according to digital marketing agency AdLift**. The creator economy has changed the outlook people have about traditional jobs as the global market size of influencer marketing crosses $1.75 billion. The world has opened up and there are numerous possibilities, the opportunities are endless and people are finding income in their passion, being creators on their favourite subjects.

India is a burgeoning interest market for the next phase of the creator boom. Here, people of all ages are creating content with a language first approach and earning an income from home. Be it skill development, cooking, DIY or funny content, creators are taking over people’s screens and a number of older adults are included in this creator space. Another segment that is rapidly gaining traction in this space are creators from smaller towns who are channeling their passion/experience/knowledge in quick value-add to other’s lives and earning a regular income through it.

Creator economy: Who are the creators?

A creator economy is propelled by groups of businesses, with strategies centered around creators, or self-motivated individuals, of different spheres, genres and subjects.

The creator economy has given everyone the chance to follow their true passion. When you open any social media website, you can find videos, photos, and all kinds of content that are put out by creators of all age groups. There are toddlers with millions of followers growing up on the Internet. Teenagers are talking about the issues they face like puberty and heartbreak.They share the changes they face physically and mentally, their struggle as teens and make an attempt to normalize things that have been seen as taboo, by using platforms that resonate with millions.Before the surge of social media and the internet, traditional 9-to-5 jobs were seen as the only means to earn, save, live and retire. Generations after generation followed these norms and lived their lives.There are still many people who love their jobs and want to continue it in the traditional way. But in the past few years, as technology and the creator economy blossomed, people have found a way to come out of their shell and follow their passion because there is a paying economy with earning potential doing what they love!

Take for example an Indian comedian’s mother who shares funny and sometimes sarcastic remarks written on a placard with her followers (153k) or a 63 year old lady who recently got viral with her energetic dance videos.

We have millions of content creators on every platform, be it TikTok, Instagram or Youtube, and now ClubHouse. Young generations grew up with their passion on social media, now many senior adults have also come forward and explored this new opportunity. Mature adults in their 50s and 60s are proving every day that age is just a number and that it is never too late to do what you love. They are making themselves visible and part of popular social media platforms, in visuals as well as audio.

Senior Creators and what they do on the internet

Senior creators have an edge when it comes to content creation, they have more experience. Using this to their advantage, older creators are making great progress in inspiring others through their lives. They are unapologetic about expressing themselves through their content, and they inspire! Social media has senior dancers, models, chefs who are only starting to explore their talents, now that they are retired and are aging in place. They are storming the internet and breaking stereotypes with their positive, wise, humorous content and people are loving it.

Senior content creators are digitally equitable. They are individuals with significant life experience, their content is different from their younger counterparts and it’s a welcome change that perhaps everyone needs. Older adults have a place on social media just as much as anyone else. They are, and always will be an integral part of the Creator Economy.

The concept of aging in place is catching on in India as people prefer to spend their retired life in their homes, with a familiar surrounding. While urban seniors have more access to emerging ways of communication to stay in touch with their children living abroad, friends and family, rural India tells a different story. Connectivity is an issue and digital literacy is a great obstacle for the rural older adults. Covid-19 has shown the frailties in the Digital India dream and has also given purpose to innovative startups like GetSetUp to bridge this tremendous gap by bringing language based, simple interfaced services to help educate older adults on how to use digital tools and connect older adults across the country with each other.

Addressing the digital divide

The problem of the digital divide becomes far reaching in developing nations as it contributes to social isolation, misinformation and mistrust in the world of internet. India is the world’s second-largest pool of internet users, approximately 600 million. Yet, half of the population lacks internet access, and even if they manage to go online, only 20% of Indians know how to use digital services, according to government data.

Older adults often face loneliness and lack of purpose, which contributes to them feeling isolated and left out. Many older adults in rural communities or with mobility issues lack community and social connections, which leads to loneliness. A study by the University of Michigan found that older adults were feeling lonelier than ever before during the pandemic. A 2019 study* analyzed data from more than 580,000 adults and found that social isolation increases the risk of premature death from every cause for every race.

Today, with the advent of digital platforms offering not only support but encouragement and learning for seniors, there is new hope. Communities on social media play an integral role in uniting creative minds in a place where they can learn and progress together.

Content creators who are older adults can bring not only experience but also wisdom and humour to their content. The way forward for older adults is bridging the digital divide by allowing these seniors to be fully comfortable with the online space and find people with similar interests to interact with through it.

Source: Business World

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