Zoomers: the new Boomers

February 13, 2010 at 3:52 am Leave a comment

Recently I attended a symposium on developing library programs and services for individuals 50+ and over. Several of the library agencies represented (Torrance Public Library included) were grant recipients through the California State Library initiative, Transforming Life After 50. At the session, we discussed terminology and there was general agreement that while many of us use the term “Boomers” to describe our target audience, the many people aged 46-64 we’re trying to reach may not relate to that label.

Enter one Moses Znaimer, a Canadian media innovator, who has begun to popularize the term, “Zoomers” and I, for one, must admit it appears to more accurately describe my generational cohort. Zoomers are “Boomers with zip” and Mr. Znaimer has done a good job conveying the sense of action that characterizes Boomer aging. In a Zoomer’s world, one doesn’t consider retirement but rather engagement.

Author David Cravit in his book, The New Old, describes the essence of a Zoomer, “It’s not only that the Zoomer is the sum of  all of the ages he or she has ever lived through – it’s that all those ages are still in operation, all at the same time.” Here is his description of the archetypical Zoomer:
• Body of a 65-year old (the body is what it is) but there is a ferocious battle to keep the body healthier and more active for as long as possible
• Mind of a 45-year old – Zoomers always see themselves as 10-15 years younger than their chronological age
• Libido of a 25-year-old – Sex has always been important for this demographic so why should it disappear now?
• Heart of a teenager – Passion and a consistent interest in new experiences dominate with the belief that death is distant and/or not likely to happen
• Controls the spending – Marketers, policy-makers, academic s, and the media are paying great attention to Zoomers because they spend more money, in just about every category of goods and services than all other age groups combined!

Mr. Cravit’s book can be read as a field guide to Zoomers and as I skimmed its contents I found myself nodding and smiling as I recognized myself and my friends over and over in its pages. The book does provide a great overview of the many trends associated with and concerns of Boomers/Zoomers or anyone who still refers to him or herself as “middle aged,” for example, how to slow the aging process and deal with greater life expectancy, the problems of the sandwich generation, money/spending and “SKIing” (Spending the kids’ inheritance), sex, politics, and marketing and consumerism.

If you are a boomer-aged individual or older, how do you feel about the term Zoomer? If we used the term in library programming and publicity, would you be more likely to attend? Please post your comments below – we welcome your input. Also, you can check out a sampling of Mr. Znaimer’s Zoomer Magazine and an associated website 50plus.com by clicking on the links.

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