A small startup in Waterloo is testing the waters with an online service that aims to bridge the digital-analogue divide by turning the weekly checkins, photos, tweets and blogs of social media savvy parents into a printed story sheet delivered by mail to their children's grandparents.
The service, dubbed Flockwire, is Inflolabs second attempt to closing this particular gap. The company won a number of awards with their debut offering photoflo which allowed users to send digital images directly from their computers to their grandparent's TV by deploying an interesting an inexpensive piece of equipment called Raspberry Pi. But despite testing well, the group ran into some trouble during deployment with their core demographic. Many retirement residences are still slow to adopt WiFi — the backbone delivery mechanism for the service — into their operations. The availability of WiFi, the reliability of onsite technical support and installing the hardware ultimately forced the group to rethink their offering.
The new approach — sending weekly glossy printouts in the mail — is seemingly less problematic, but will people buy it? Those at the helm hope so, as it offers a tangible way to connect those who are growing up digital with those who grew up analogue. That said, this bridge can only be built if the sandwich generation between these two radically different demographics decides that it is worth building. The jump to broadcast parenting isn't doesn't seem like a significant stretch at first, but printing and mailing out a story sheet lacks the immediate feedback that Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest offer; an immediacy that many of them are may have become dependent on.