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ZDNet-Yahoo Internet Life
Guru Question for 12/22/99

Q. Guru, I'm a Baby Boomer and have trouble finding sites with my needs in mind. Where are they? Roger


A. If you've ever experienced a warm cozy sugar coma after gulping down three bowls of Frosted Flakes, gulped Kool-Aid out of a Flintstones glass, didn't quite get that Kipling joke Bullwinkle the Moose once cracked, but understood why Dobie and Zelda were as fated to remain every bit a couple as Courtney Cox as David Arquette (or Ally McBeal and anorexia), then you're probably one of the Baby Boomers that make up a sizable portion of the Web's users.

While many sites are as alike as paper dolls in their appeal to a demographic that doesn't realize that Buffy levitates on the shoulders of giants like Samantha Stevens, there are some exceptions. Those, whose prepubescent libidos were shaped like pottery around the image of the licorice Ms. Stevens, should try Third Age and, because these sites are meant for them.

Actually, it's all based on the simple idea that people want whatever goes on in their media to reflect what goes on in their daily lives. For Boomers, you can safely assume that Pokemon and Quake would not place in the Top 10 (not counting what their kids want for Christmas). Take ThirdAge's opening page, for example -- it has news (on parental leave), tips (e.g., "Vacations with an Intellectual Spin"), and self-exams (a vision quiz) geared for those definitely not in the Britney Spears fan club. Like a mix of self-help books, support groups, and coffee klatches, the site is divvied into areas of interest like Family, Health, Living, Money, News, Romance, and more. You'll see articles/resources on everything from arthritis to holistic healing, saving for your kids' college education, things to do with your grandchildren, the Empty Nest Syndrome, stress, free travel, and whether fantasizing counts as cheating.

What a royal flush is to poker, "You deserve a break today" is to advertising jingles, and Labrador Retrievers are to dogs, MyPrimeTime is to Boomers. With four main areas -- Money, Work, Health, and Play -- the site acts like a scoutmaster handing you tools for survival in the personal, financial, and cultural wild. Every one of the four main sections offers info that you usually won't find in more mainstream (aka dumbed-down) sites. The day I looked, Money had articles on giving tax-free cash for Christmas and ways for beneficiaries to collect on IRAs. Work had stories on the effect of bankruptcy laws on entrepreneurs. Health ran a piece on the link between exercise and increased intelligence. Besides news flashes, there are toolkits for entrepreneurs, 100 business startup ideas, a beer tasting contest, stress-busting tips, bulletin boards where you can shoot the bull, shopping guides, jogging routes in major US cities, unusual holiday decorating ideas, and, OK, a Pokemon primer for puzzled parents. Last, there are "Me" Meters, calculators that you can use to figure everything from whether you have a "Superman" complex to the kind of traveler you are to how much you can invest before taxes each to how happy you are.

You'll be happy if you hang out here for a while. is "Cheers" for people who want community and tools they can use to make their lives better, and have as much fun doing it as if they were at Woodstock.

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