Baby Boomers and Social Media

Baby Boomers and Social Media

Baby Boomers and Social Media

If you’re a baby boomer, you already know a lot about how to be social. For instance, would I have to ask you twice what the “magic words” are? Would you know what elements make a good letter? Could you go on a picnic and just be at the picnic, without having to whip out an electronic device? There you go! Each one of these instances is a good reason why you, as a Boomer, is a perfect candidate for social media. Here’s a funny article about the differences between baby boomers and Gen Y.

Insecurity

Let me backtrack a bit by saying that I meet Baby Boomers all the time who feel insecure about social media. I think it doesn’t have to be that way. They think they have nothing to say, and yet they have more experience than younger people, and have been through all kinds of economic downturns, changes in employment, divorce, and much more. So of course you as a Boomer have something to say. The issue may be that you feel insecure around younger people who have grown up with Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and YouTube. And if you’re a Boomer connected on social media, I like Brian Solis’ “Gen C” label.

The Magic Words

Most Boomers know how to use the words “please” and “thank you,” and they know when. Believe me, (please), when I tell you that saying “thank you” is very important. In a world of ingratitude, your thank you means so very much. Maybe good manners can be taught at a later age, but since you probably already have good manners, you have an edge on social media, so that isn’t an issue.

Writing a Letter

Another skill that many Boomers have is the ability to write a letter–a skill that can be transferred to writing email, a blog, crafting a few Facebook posts, or tweeting. Seriously. The ability to write in one form can easily be transferred to another. So you have the edge there, too.

Going on a Picnic

Going on a picnic without checking a phone is easy for a boomer

Going on a picnic without checking a phone is easy for a boomer

Now this one might sound a little strange to you. But the ability to just talk without checking an electronic device is getting more and more rare. The other day, with some of my friends, I realized that no one had checked in, tweeted, posted, or made a video for a couple of hours. Weird, right?! And how wonderful to just have a conversation without thinking it might end up being posted on someone’s wall.

Drive Your Online Conversations Offline

It’s great to meet people online, but there is really no substitute for meeting people face to face and having an actual conversation. And that is where baby boomers really shine. Having grown up without cell phones, tablets, and laptops, boomers know how to talk! Because if you really needed to talk to someone, you’d go over to their house and knock on their door. Who does that any more? So take those conversations offline where you’re really comfortable.

Social Media is Just Tools

Really. Social media is bits and bytes, but in the end, it’s just a tool. You can meet and talk to a lot of people (sometimes all at once) using social media. But if you think of social media as something like a telephone or another appliance to be learned, maybe the intimidation factor will go away. Because as a Boomer you already have the tools you need. Don’t you?

 

Comments

  1. Wow! Great post, Carol. I have often said (and you skillfully reinforced it) that boomers have an advantage IF we use the tools from both generations…those you outline above and the wonderful world of social.

    In the CRE biz, those that entered pre technology, understand the “hierarchy of contact”… In order of importance…like DEFCON…Face to face, call, text, social media contact, snail mail, email.

    I think you just inspired my next post!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Even we GenXers have manners. What’s with people these days?
      In what universe is a retweet the same as saying, “Thank you?”
      And you’re lucky if you get that. So many people ignore conversations and mentions (or just me).

      HA!

      • Hi Bridget,
        Yes, in what universe is a retweet the same as a thank you? It’s like me thanking myself for being awesome! Are you kidding? Worse still is when you’re ignored (or people don’t even realize the need to look for conversations). Seems like the most basic manners to me. Sometimes I want to ask people if they were raised in a barn. But I’m too polite to do that! Hahaha!
        Thanks for commenting, as always!

        Sincerely,
        Carol

    • Hello Allen,

      If Boomers seriously used both sets of tools together, they’d kill on social media. Can you imagine? I think some of it is lack of confidence, and another part is ignorance of the tools (which aren’t that difficult to learn). I’m around a lot of Millennials who need to learn good manners, and I believe it’s easier to teach the tools than the manners. After all, the tools are just the means to an end.

      Thank you for stopping by, and please let me know when you’ve written your next post!

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  2. Very Inspirational post , I think the problem is the boomers do not have the time , have not been trained to put so much importance in Social Media . A lot do not believe it is real yet it is real . For me sometimes I feel insecure about what I am doing , and sometime feel like I have been here already ,,,, lived it and now I have to verbalize and shout it out using different online platforms . So many boomers have lives and have no time for it . wondering how to get that creative selfie with me and my brand. Sad but true , because it’s necessary to engage in Social Media if your running a business to secure ur base online . !
    Thanks Carol !

    • Hi Natalie,
      Some Boomers don’t realize how powerful social media is yet. But I think that that’s changing quickly. I remember having to convince people of the importance of social media, once upon a time. That was before everything exploded, though. And now a lot of Boomers are struggling to play catchup online, but they do believe that social media is here to stay!
      Thanks for the comment!
      Carol

  3. Good points, wait…you’re not a boomer, how do you know? LOL. It’s because you connect with people regardless of their generation. I re-invented myself in 2008 eventually taking on the role of corporate blogger and social media administrator (along with several other hats) At first, I was intimated by all the young people, how would they accept me, could I relate, and what would we have in common? I learned people are people–it didn’t matter. It also became apparent i was good at connecting people F2F. An introverted female 25 year old and I (63, male, and extroverted) presented together all over Indiana about taking connections from social media to F2F. We stated a monthly meet-up, called friend up, where friends brainstorm how to help each other, which has grown to 75 members and two meetings–Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. My point is, you’re right, people want to connect, boomers are good at it, don’t be shy…go help.

    • Hello Randy,
      My friends are all over the map, age-wise (sounds like yours are, too!), and especially if you’re willing to learn new technology PLUS connect face to face. I love your “people are people.” I’ve learned that moving from online to offline is one of the most important–perhaps the most important steps–in gaining new clients. The face-to-face meeting is critical. And I love that Friend Up meeting. I’ve met so many interesting people at meetups or started friendships on Twitter that became close friendships. Thank you for your comments. You made my day. 😀
      Carol

Trackbacks

  1. Common Sense Social Media | Women of Technology says:

    […] as thanking them. Say thank you often. Don’t be a social media snob. And if you’re a Baby Boomer, you’re already way ahead in the politeness […]

  2. […] read a post today from Carol Stephen (one of my favorite blogs) called Baby Boomers and Social Media which had a link to another post entitled the 20 Differences Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y. If you […]

  3. […] Sure, they may be able to play Nintendo from the womb, but it’s not enough. The young of today may have left Facebook for Snapchat. They may know how to buy songs online. But does this mean they have the advantage over Gen X or even Baby Boomers? […]

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