The power of life experience. Share your story!

A year ago, the European project CREATE was launched. The aim: to offer seniors a digital platform where they can share their personal knowledge and expertise, but above all their life experience, with each other and with others. Through surveys and workshops, we gained insight into senior citizens’ Internet use and what the Neos members think the platform should look like. Are you also curious about the results?

Surf to learn or share?

It appears, for instance, that the vast majority of the Neos members do find their way to the world wide web but their use is rather limited. They mainly surf to gather information, check facts, and look for inspiration. And occasionally to book a restaurant or hotel. But intensive online shopping or banking, writing blogs, or maintaining social media are not really on the agenda. Many of them are on Facebook – Twitter or TikTok don’t really seem to be their thing – but it is still used with caution. They find it enormously valuable to keep up to date with events and enjoy sharing news and photos with each other, but inappropriate language, urban legends, and unwanted advertising often cause frustration. As a wise lesson, we drew from this that the CREATE platform should become a safe and respectful environment where people can share their stories and interact with each other. But what should the stories be about? Are people waiting for this at all? What is the added value of these stories? We checked with them.

The many faces of life experience

Pouring your life experience into a story. Admittedly, easier said than done. Because what can you write about? What do people want to read? What makes a story worth putting on paper? The workshops showed the need for defined themes and clear guidelines. Therefore, based on the interests of the interviewees, we decided to knock off ‘Travel’, ‘History’, Life Experience’, ‘Culture’, and ‘Fiction’ as topics. Over the years, you have accumulated knowledge, expertise, and developed skills or talents that are so valuable that they should not be lost. How did you experience the fall of the Berlin Wall, the stock market crash in 2008, or other historical moments? Did you write a short story that still lies unpublished in a drawer? Do you have the key to a long – and happy – marriage? It all deserves a place on our platform. Because not only other seniors but also younger generations can be inspired by the story or apply this knowledge in their own lives. Life experience is a highly sought-after commodity, the sayings are not for nothing ‘one learns by doing’ and ‘wisdom comes with age’…

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