By now, the fact that Google agreed to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion is old news. But there's a lesson I took from it that's not about another community site getting bought for a boat-load of money.
I found out about the purchase from an unexpected source, BYU's student newspaper. The AP story was on the front page today when I came into work. Some student editor thought the news of YouTube's acquisition to be almost as important as BYU's win over San Diego State on Saturday.
On the other hand only a few of the faculty members I questioned about YouTube knew what it was. For them, the phenomenon of user-generated video was something abstract. This highlights a knowledge gap between the twenty-somethings that attend the university and the 30-60 year-olds who teach there.
If community-based sites are the bread and butter of Web 2.0, then it's mostly the people who grew up with the 'Net who are participating. Most older folks have their communities and they're not online. What's that mean for business models as the ARPA crowd gets steadily bigger with the influx of baby-boomers? Are we going to settle for part of the population, or will someone break the age-barrier with online communities? Adam Bosworth's ideas for health-related communities might be part of the answer.