Boredom and “Golden Clouds”: The Next New Thing in Social Networking?

What’s the Next New Thing?  I’m a member of the Blue Revolution team in Hawaii, even though I work in San Francisco, which is exploring Ocean Thermal Energy (OTEC).  Recently, retired Hawaiian professionals have been writing long emails and getting into heated debates over a variety of topics.  What’s going on?  Why the long-winded discussions and tirades?

My theory is that the aging society is creating a large population of bored, educated, talented people who want to socialize and keep their minds alert by discussing major political, environmental, social and economic issues.  Think “Email University”.

In the past, I’ve tripped over social needs that triggered technological breakthroughs — Mosaic, MP3 player, YouTube.  This time the major social need is BOREDOM.  Due to retirement and recession, there are hundreds of millions of people sitting around bored, isolated and frustrated by the lack of intellectual stimulation and social interaction, thus the long email discussions.

Thus, I sense a major opportunity:  online forums running on the cloud.  IBM, HP, Amazon and others are developing cloud services, but most are targeted at business, government and retail applications.  There’s little talk of using them for socializing, discussing or intellectualizing to overcome boredom.  This is a huge missed opportunity for IT service companies.  My bet is that we’ll see a boom in online cloud forums as the baby boomer hits retirement in volume (8,000 hitting 60 per minute now) — “Golden Clouds”?


5 thoughts on “Boredom and “Golden Clouds”: The Next New Thing in Social Networking?

  1. Interesting predictions and retirement data too. Who will be willing to invest on “Boredbook” ? Email discussions are old school. I am wondering if these retired people are already using Facebook, Twitter, Google plus. Is boredom though a phenomenon that solely inflicts upon older people or desribes younger ages too? A Boredom app would be intriguing too!

  2. I notice older people often prefer email, afraid of the more trail visible on Facebook or other social networks, but email can easily be resent.

    Boredom really means too much time and too few interesting mental challenges, which is a big opportunity since we now have smartphones, social media, the Internet, digital cameras, etc. But people are still operating in the old paradigm. We’re shifting from a largely passive, stationary, consumptive online behavioral model to a more active, mobile, producer model where users become creators. Example: the Arab Spring users of Twitter and Facebook.

    What this suggests is that the Next New Thing will be global networks where billions of smartphone users create new content (photos, videos, images, text, etc.) in unlimited new ways that we can’t even imagine right now, just as Internet developers created new Web businesses and groups that we couldn’t imagine at Stanford in 1993 before Mosaic and Yahoo! showed up.

    The future belongs to visionaries who find useful services and market needs, then build and share them. That’s the role of Silicon Valley Global Network: to connect emerging visionaries.

  3. “That’s the role of Silicon Valley Global Network: to connect emerging visionaries.”

    I would really like to re-post your answer (which describes the role of Silicon Valley Global Network) in my personal blog space (if I may have your permission) by the title S.V.G.N. enhance links of this website and spread your views to my blog’s readers.

  4. Hi Stathis, you’re welcome to repost our exchange since I really want to connect Silicon Valley people and thinking with the rest of the world to help inspire and connect entrepreneurs. The world really needs new companies and industries to create jobs since the old, dying industrial model will never be able to provide enough to meet the booming growth of young people, especially in developing nations.

    We’re moving into a globally-connected Service Economy or Creative Economy where consumers become producers too, a bottom-up model that is the opposite of the old top-down industrial model protected by Big Government, Big Business, Big Labor and Big Universities. Unless the world moves quickly to this new, emerging bottom-up model, we face serious social and political unrest among the hundreds of millions of frustrated, unemployed people around the world. Silicon Valley has the vision, tools and money; we need users worldwide who can use them to create hope, jobs and communities.

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