I officially launched Snabbo, a Social Network Allowing Baby Boomers Only, on September 9, 2009. Since I kept this idea pretty well under wraps for the entire 3 years of its development, it invariably came as a surprise to my friends when they received an invitation to test the site. Many expressed curiosity as to why I did this. I decided to take a stab at blogging about the experience. I hope to document this process from the genesis of the Snabbo idea, through the development phase and into the current marketing and promotion of the website.
I run for exercise about three times a week. When I run, I get ideas (I am sure I am not alone in having this experience). Over the years, I have also imagined at least 5 possible screenplays and who I would cast in lead roles. So, one day (sometime in November, 2006) after my oldest daughter, Evelyn and I set up a Facebook account for our dog Finnegan as a joke, I went for a run. I started thinking about how, obviously, as my generation has aged we don't look the same. I don't think many people who knew me in high school would recognize me now if we passed each other in the grocery store. Then I started thinking that if Baby Boomers had the internet when we were in high school and college, we would be posting photos of us THEN. Just like our kids are doing. Why can't there be a social networking website that allows Boomers to do that? The side benefits would be that the concept is entertaining, photos posted could be preserved for our grandkids to observe how hip we were, and we wouldn't be accused of stalking our own offspring on Facebook by being members.
By January of 2007, I decided to do some research.
I found that there were Baby Boomer social networking websites out there already. But no one had hit on my particular idea. These sites encouraged members to discuss aging parents, incontinence and all things pertaining to middle age. That's ok and there is a need for those types of discussion, but my guess was that most Boomers would rather reminisce about their glory days than think about whether they should have that hip replacement.
I did more research. I like research. I got my Master's degree in Counseling Psychology at University of North Texas with Dr. Bert Hayslip, who has studied retirement adjustment and other aging issues for more than 20 years. I wrote my Master’s Thesis on the fallacy of the empty-nest syndrome entitled, Psychological Hardiness and Adjustment to Life Events in Adulthood.
So I read some studies and brushed up on some psychological theories. Erik Erikson a famous developmental psychologist believed that, during middle age and beyond, adults tend to reflect back on their life. They revisit their past experiences, accomplishments and choices. Reflection can help them gain satisfaction with their life or come to terms with any regrets. In any case, my research only ignited my desire to create a website that might address the needs of my generation during this stage in life.