Social media: Old people rule!

Today I’m pleased to introduce a special guest-blogger, my daughter Lauren, who provides a 20-something perspective of social media. Lauren is an awesome young woman (with a capital AWE) and is a junior majoring in Public Relations at Indiana University. She is also completing a summer internship with a company in San Francisco.

This week, my boss asked me to construct his company’s first Facebook page and establish a presence on Twitter. My qualification? I’m young.

The truth is, I probably know less about social media marketing than he does … Tweet what?

Sure, I am a child of the new media generation. But, the truth is, my generation is still trying to figure all this stuff out too! Granted, there are a handful of SM savvy hipsters who can tweet and blog their way through life, but half of us can’t figure out what to do with all this stuff.

Sure, we all have Facebook or MySpace pages and we love YouTube, but at college, we’re using these channels just for fun and we’re too self-involved to realize that SM can be used by businesses on so many other levels.

The “youth-as-social-media-change-agents” myth got pumped up to a whole new level a few weeks ago when a much-publicized 15-year-old delivered a report on media channels to Morgan Stanley. Not all of us in the under-25 bracket can do that … most of us are just not that precocious!

The only reason I’m on Twitter is because my Dad is there. When I found out he was on Twitter I thought, “Whoa! The old man is on Twitter? I must be falling behind!” Truth is, my whole generation is behind. Nearly every study shows that people OVER 25 are the ones most rapidly adopting social media … not us. And the fastest-growing category on Facebook is over 50!

Here’s my point: For all of you from the generation ahead of me who have been running rampant through SM sites to compete with my generation of “digital natives,” SLOW DOWN. You’re winning a race against a competitor that doesn’t even know the race exists!

The social media finish line looks a lot clearer in your reading glasses, than in my generation’s youthful 20-20 vision.

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  • Jeffrey Tang

    Ironically think that 15-year-old's report to Morgan Stanley came to the same conclusion as you did – the younger generation really isn't the one driving a lot of social media.

    Do you have any theories as to why social media is more embraced by people over 25 than people under 25? Was it all a giant over-adjustment for falling behind in other tech areas? Or is there a deeper reason?

  • Nate Towne

    Hey Lauren, thanks for the fresh perspective. I've been reading a heck of a lot of biz articles as of late predicting the fall of social media due to young'uns being turned off by us old timers playing in their SM space. Can't we all just get along? Apparently we can! Congrats on the internship too, hope you're having fun as you learn…

  • Jim LeBlanc

    Good job, Lauren! So now that you are working in the real world and catching up to your dad, what do you think of Twitter? Is it REALLY just for older folks or do you like it?

  • Lauren Schaefer

    Jeffrey: Here is the one theory I have that is most personal to me- When Facebook came out I was 15. When Twitter became huge I was what?… 19? When I was 15 or 19 I had no other reason to use these social networks besides just being social! I feel like that is the case with a lot of people under 25 and we are somewhat stuck in our ways. It is hard to change when we have become so comfortable!

    Nate: It is very hard to share our space. We were the first,(if you remember back in the day- there was a time when only college students could be on Facebook.) But here is the reason most young people are turned off by older people getting onto Facebook or others of the like: PHOTOS. No one like their mother going through all 1,721 tagged photos them. I will share the space– I will just put a up plenty more privacy settings.

    Jim: I… don't… know. It is such a touchy subject for me! Now that I have an iphone where I can access Twitter quickly, I like it more, I am able to post photos and keep my little mini-blog (I could never have the patience for a real one) BUT– I don't really have followers- I have a few friends and my parents. So why don't I just talk to them? Or put it on facebook? And all I have to say is how I feel about Turkey Tuesday at Subway.

    BUT- I do see the benefits- Out here in San Francisco it is HUGE- I saw all different opinions on the Prop 8 decision via Twitter feed, I found out where my favorite food vendor's location was for the day via his Twitter page. So for me- I am still trying, but for others with businesses and those that have something to tweet about, I get it.

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