You’re Not Too Old For Social Media, You’re Just Lazy

by on 05/20/2011 • 42 Comments | Social Media

Stop me when any of this founds familiar.

1. I’m talking to a business owner about Internet marketing. Things are going pretty well until the topic of social media enters the conversation. As soon as things like Twitter and Facebook and blogging come up, the business owner looks at me, chuckles, and lets me know that social media is “a kid’s thing”. He’s too old to get involved with that. He does serious business.

2. Rhea speaks on a local panel on the topic of Internet marketing not too long ago. She’s paired with a speaker a generation or two older than her. Each time Rhea mentions using social media as a marketing strategy, the speaker scoffs at her, publicly mocks her age, and dismisses her recommendation as a sign of her youth. Rhea puts the speaker in her place and continues the conversation.

3. I go home to visit my father. He asks me for the gazillionth time what it is I do for a living. I explain search engine optimization and marketing in very, very simple terms. He responds, “Oh yeah, the Internet, I’m too old to learn how to do that now. We didn’t have that back then. We actually spoke to people”.

Each one of these situations makes me want to jab a pen straight into my neck.

It’s time to debunk the myth. You are not too old to use social media. Pretending that you are is the equivalent of blaming the recession for why you’ve been unemployed for two years. It’s an excuse and it’s a bad one at that.

Just because you’re not familiar with a new technology, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a benefit or that you shouldn’t pick it up. Learning and growing and mastering new skills is what we do as humans. It’s what we’ve always done.

  • You weren’t born knowing how to use language and form sentences, but you learned.
  • You didn’t know how to drive a car, but you learned.
  • You didn’t know how to type and/or use a computer, but you learned.

You learned by doing it and practicing it. You learned because it moved you forward. I’d hate to see where we’d be today if the cavemen wrote off fire as “shiny and useless”.

If you want to learn social media, you need to stop talking and start doing. Using your age as an excuse just sets you further and further behind the curve.

I’m about 5 weeks away from my 29th birthday. That means I grew up with computers. Not to the degree that my younger brother has, but I used them in the classroom, and in high school the Web completely took away my need to ever consult a hard copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica again. And I have to think that around the time that I was taking my first typing class in 9th grade, computers were being wheeled into the workplace and workers were staring at each other wondering what they HELL they were going to do now.

  • The computers were unfamiliar.
  • They threatened to change how things had always been done.
  • It was a brand new technology and a new way of thinking that would have to be learned.
  • It was downright terrifying.

And even though they were nervous and panicked and they probably whined a whole bunch – the smart people hopped on. They learned it as quickly as they could because it gave them an edge and made them better. The people who refused to accept computers into their workplace then are now out of a job. And the same thing is happening right now with social media.

You shut up and learn or you start looking for a different job.

If you own a business, the way you market that business has changed. There are new tools to help you do what you’ve always done, but better. And while you may be too lazy, too unmotivated, too intimidated or too full of yourself to learn them, you are certainly not too old.

Because social media isn’t about age, just like it’s not about being an expert, a guru or a visionary. It’s about people and marketing to them, and using new tools to go above and beyond for them. If you’re “too old” to do that, then you’re too old to be in business. If that’s the case, maybe this will help.

But by ignoring social media and chalking it up to kids play, you lose.

You lose on a way to do what you do better, to give your brand a voice, and to stay competitive.

It’s okay if social media intimidates you a little bit or that you’re not immediately awesome at it. I’d venture to guess you fell off your bike a few times as a kid and backed into a couple of mailboxes when you were learning to drive. But you got back on. You kept trying. You didn’t lay the blame on the car.

This is no different.

Get over your issues, your hang ups, and your insecurities about trying something new or possibly being bad at it and just do it. The longer you avoid social media, the bigger the hill you’ll have to climb later or the more money you’ll have to spend getting someone to push you up. Social media isn’t a kid’s thing, it’s a business thing. Create that Twitter account. Create a Brand Page on Facebook. Do something. Quit whining about it and fearing it and putting it down, and do it.

You have a choice. Because in three years your business can either thank you or it can cease to exist. Your call.

Have a good weekend.

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About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.

Get social with Lisa at Twitter

42 thoughts on “You’re Not Too Old For Social Media, You’re Just Lazy

  1. Having worked with Realtors, who a predominantly an older demographic, I have heard “I’m to old”, “I don’t want to hear what people had for breakfast” or “I don’t want to Tweeter, so don’t even start with me” ad nauseum. The truth is, most of these clients have turned to SEO as a miracle to fix their broken business, expecting leads to rain from heaven, and commissions to be carried to them by big fat angel babies.

    I used to teach a computer class to underemployed people, and have actually taught someone HOW TO USE A MOUSE. They looked at the computer like it would explode. After 2 months of basic courses we overcame the biggest obstacle: FEAR. They were afraid , so they feigned a lack of understanding, became beligerant and even arrograntly proud of their “Digital ignorance”, and it wasn’t until they overcame THEMSELVES, they saw that MS word works like Excel, and that computers are designed to be EASY to use. Likewise Social media is designed to be SIMPLE TO USE, it just takes time and willingness to learn, which some business owners refuse to commit to, and that is the reason their business overall is in bad health, not the recession.

  2. I agree with many of your points, but I think there’s another generational factor that speaks to not only social media, but the web in general, that often goes ignored. Most people over 40 just don’t feel comfortable using social media because they’ve grown up doing everything with some kind of instructions. For instance, around the holidays, whenever someone gets something that requires assembly, my dad always grabs the instructions manual and reads it cover to cover, while my siblings and I just take out all of the pieces and figure it out. I think that indicates a major generational difference in the way that we interface with the world, and that translates to online activity.

    When my parents ask me questions like “how do I tag someone on Facebook,” I don’t remember the exact process, but I know that I can figure it out. They have an apprehension when it comes to just clicking a button unless they already know what that button does. I’d argue that anyone who had a computer in their home before the end of high school, has grown up just training themselves about how to navigate processes and solve problems. It was possible to train ourselves because there were so many options. If you had a term paper to write about Norway, for instance, there were a multitude of websites, blogs, message boards and wikis where you could find that information and almost as many search engines to take you to those sites. The possible paths to that knowledge are almost endless. For our parents, if they had to write that same term paper in high school, they had one option: Encyclopedia Britannica. Maybe a Fodor’s Guide (remember those? Memories.). Growing up lacking those options left them with a more limited approach to problem solving than we’re used to.

    I think overall, social media does a poor job of training users, mainly because the majority of their users (who are under 40) don’t need it or want it. We don’t want to follow a tutorial. As far as I’m concerned, if the design of a site or app is not intuitive enough for me to figure it out on my own, then the product or concept is inherently flawed. However, those older users do want explicit instructions or directions on each function. Until we present these groups with more robust tooltips/tutorials/etc to learn from, I think older users will continue to scoff at social media not because they don’t want to use it, but because the process required to learn a product or service makes them uncomfortable.

    • Not sure I agree with you, Andrew, on the concept that wanting instructions is a generational thing. I’m (quite a bit) over 40, and I tend to want to figure stuff out rather than attempt to read complicated instructions. I’m also very involved with using social media and learning new technology, because I do communications/marketing work and I want to stay competitive. Not that I’m necessarily typical. Although it’s possible that younger people do tend to be more experiential learners. Wonder if any research has been done on that? Interesting point to ponder.

      On a side note, don’tcha just hate when older people say, “In my day…” I mean, hey, you’re not dead. It’s still your day as much as it is a 20-year-old’s, isn’t it??

      • Laurie – Like you, I am over 40. I think the points that Andrew makes are accurate… he’s just missed the correct decade. I think it is people born before about 1955. And he’s right – they just don’t seem to have the ability to troubleshoot or problem solve. If their computer freezes, so do they. They need to write down simple things (like the keyboard command for copy or paste) rather than just realizing they can find that information again if they need to. They also tend to work with IT people that make them think everything is harder than it is by talking in big words rather than just quickly showing them how easy it is.

  3. I’ll be 41 in July, and I estimate 60-70% of my business comes from social media. Alan Bleiweiss had a post the other day (I won’t guess about his age :) ) where he said 80% of his business came from social media.

    I also get more hilarious online with every passing year. Plus, I did 165 push-ups this morning and my ass has never looked better. Get off my lawn, Justin Bieber!

  4. I’ve been lurking around your blog reading and not commenting for a while, Lisa, but I couldn’t resist this one. I’m going to have to print this out and make it required reading for the staff “of a certain age” at my office.
    Laziness is not an excuse, in fact there is no excuse, for not embracing this ‘internet fad,’ get on board or get left behind.
    I think Andrew P hit on an important point, though: fear and a need for detailed instructions (hand-holding) are big hurdles — and excuses — for people who didn’t grow up on computers and are considering a foray into social media.
    I work in an office w/ two distinct populations: fresh-out-of-college 20-somethings and i’ve-been-doing-this-forever, gonna-die-in-this-cubicle types.
    A huge part of my role is to train the second group in the basics of using social media for several specific purposes (often, we start with a course called ‘using the internet 101′).
    The first, 10th and 10,000th thing I always have to tell these folks, in as reassuring a tone as I can muster, is this: “you are not going to break the internet.”
    I have to goad them into clicking around a page, experimenting, trusting their own instincts while fighting against their fear that they will break the internet/twitter/facebook/blog.

    When I taught my sister to drive a stick shift she was terrified of stalling out, so the first thing I did when she got behind the wheel was have her put the car in gear and then take her foot of the clutch. She stalled out, she survived, she understood her big fear and we moved on. Now, when I’m teaching a ‘reluctant learner’ I’ll often coach them into making a mistake — click ‘post’ when it’s not done yet, following someone on twitter they can’t stand or, in extreme cases, crash our entire website (briefly) — just so I can show them how easy it is to back up and fix the mistake.

  5. Bah. I’m probably older than alla y’all put together, and I social media myself all over the place. I run into these objections a lot too – not so much from clients, but over on WMW and similar. But that’s okay. Stay off the Facebook and the Twitter. Only means more for me.

  6. I was just making the point this morning to my boss that even though Twitter is perceived as being for “young people” and our product isn’t, we’re still missing out by not making better use of our Twitter account. I guess I made a compelling argument because now we’re revamping our use of Twitter.

  7. My marketing business is based in an area that generally is populated by older, traditional business owners.

    I hear this on a daily basis. “I don’t have time” As if they think it’s a secondary or tertiary consideration for their business. And in words much nicer than this, I usually respond, “You’ll have all the time in the world when your business fails.”

    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head and saying what is on a lot of our minds, Lisa!
    :)

  8. My 91 year old Grandpa was given a computer by my Uncle. He spent months looking at it and asking me questions about it each time I visited that ranged form “what happens when I turn it on” and what all the buttons did, to how the insides worked… basically all over the map questions but he always thought about the answers and was really intrigued by learning this new device!

    He passed away almost a year ago and never got to the point of turning on the actual computer (nor mouse lessons which would have been fun!) but his thirst for knowledge and accepting of the new technology was awesome.
    I’ve told that story to a few clients before when confronted with questions you posed above and you’re right – no one should shut themselves off by just not accepting the new technology infront of them.

    I bet if my Grandpa was alive today he’d be asking me about Twitter :)

  9. I hate, hate, hate this argument. Luckily it’s not as strong now that social media has stuck around for over a decade. I still hear some older business owners who complain about the “trendiness” of social media, though. It’s tempting not to pat them on the head and say, “Well, you’re old and probably going to die soon, so don’t you worry about it.”

  10. I wrote a blog article last month titled, “Grumpy Old Marketers” that shoots down the marketers who say, “In my day, we didn’t have all this social media stuff. We spent 60 hours a week cold calling people who cursed at us and hung up on us until our ears were bleeding. That was the way it was and we liked it!”

    They argue that they did permission marketing, content marketing and social media 30 years ago and that while technologies change, people don’t. That’s quaint on a bumper sticker or t-shirt but severely misguided. Just because people don’t change doesn’t mean that your marketing strategies and tactics shouldn’t. It’s like milk men saying, “People will always need milk and since I’m so friendly and lovable they’ll never buy it from a cold, impersonal store.” Riiiiiiiiiight.

  11. I must be an old fart. I’ve been using twitter for two years because “I’m supposed to” and I have a couple hundred followers and follow a couple hundred others but if it went away tomorrow I would not give a hoot or a tweet.
    I comment on others and retweet if I find something interesting but honestly it’s just one more thing I’m supposed to follow every day. For the record I just turned 40 and make my living promoting websites.
    For the time I’ve invested in Twitter, I’m not seeing any viable returns. Facebook is cool because I enjoy looking at peoples photos but twitter I could easily live without.

    • Hi Mike, I definitely understand why you would feel like your social network wouldn’t be giving you any viable returns, but sometimes it isn’t really about that. My mom is 56 and I’m the one running our social media, and I had to sit her down and make her understand that even though we do not get clients directly from our Facebook or our Twitter; since I have set them up it has put us on the 1st page on Google. Why? Because social networks have SO many places for you to put your URL, your email, your philosophy, and more importantly, KEYWORDS.

      Google and other search engines love it when websites have social networks because it means that they have web presence and people like their product/business/service.

      So, you may get clients through your website, but how did they find your website? Could be from Google, could be from Twitter. If you got rid of your Twitter, how would they know about your website? Once I explained this to my Mom she was way more open to social media and has gotten pretty into it!

  12. This is just a fantastic post. It encapsulates my entire working life. My organization just seems to sort of work on a dual track: the senior VP types, who are too lazy or oblivious and don’t need to know anything about the web or social media, and the underpaid lesser mortals who run around trying to get stuff done through the web social media because it has a hope of succeeding and connecting with our audiences. I understand this is known as the “distributive” model of organizational leadership (as opposed to “hierarchical” or “collaborative.”) I think “distributive” was invented when the web, social media and cloud computing arrived on the scene. Somebody has to find an acceptable way to describe the chaos that has ensued with the resulting marketing organizational structure. (Did I mention I’m looking for another job?) Also I am a geezer, way past fifty (omigod it freaks me out.) Fantastic post.

  13. If you want to see a bunch of old dogs who have actively chosen not to learn any new tricks, check out a school; specifically, check out the administration. There are a few light-bearing exceptions, of course, but the majority of admins labor under the assumption that if something isn’t understood by them, it’s evil, and needs to be blocked. Sigh.

    Your post. It is right on. Groovy. Out of sight.

    Yeah, I’m old, but I ain’t a’skeered of new things. I choose to keep current. Others choose to etch numbers in the dirt with a stick.

  14. Well when I was in high school we didn’t have computers, or calculators, we used slide rules. I am the epitome of a boomer. I went to Woodstock in the summer between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I will be 60 on my next birthday. Most of the people I know who are my age, always felt like we were on the cutting edge of everything. The anthem of my generation was the Who’s, “hope I die before I get old” . The big bands when i was 17? Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Adapt? of course we adapted. Everyone I know is on facebook. Twitter escapes some people but it doesn’t have anything to do with being old. Many of our friends are half our age and none of them are on twitter. There are plenty of young people who are just as stodgy as the old folks you are describing. There are lots of young business owners who also don’t get it, don’t use it and never will. It’s not so much age but how much fat clogs your brain.

    p.s. I don’t really know who you are talking to anyway, anyone reading this blog is not in the category you describe.

  15. Hallo Lisa,
    No matter how old you are, if you have your one buseness, you NEED to follow the market! And Social media is the futher; you like it or not,just keep it professional.
    Thanks,
    Jelena

  16. Excellent post Lisa and some great comments too. I can imagine that the same old “laziness” argument got wheeled out soon after people started to use the wheel, the telegraph, the telephone, etc. More recently, those of us with a few years under our belts recall the same arguments about email and web sites. (Would anybody actually start a business without attempting to establish come kind of web presence ? Not many, I bet.) Unfortunately, it will ever be thus with new technology.

    In spite of this, those of us who do know about these things have a responsibility to educate and not revert to the entrenched “he/she’s an old fogie, they just don’t get it”. Some of these people are awake and do want to “get it”. (For example, I’m currently helping a pensioner learn how to use email to keep in touch with her family overseas.)

    I have also observed that there are shades of grey here: some people – who came in to the workplace when PCs started to become commonplace – these folks are comfortable with email but not with things like social media.

    This reminds me of something that the late and much missed Douglas Adams wrote. I can’t remember it exactly, but it was along the lines that one’s attitude to new technology goes through 3 phases. In the first, you are completely baffled and then entranced by it and think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. In the second, you realise that it has great potential for change and that it has the potential to allow one to make a good living. In the third, you feel that any “new” technology is an abomination and against nature and you swear that you will have nothing to do with it.

    As I said, I fear that it always has and always will be like that ;-)

  17. It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

    A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience?

    This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box.

    Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

    I hope my awesomize.me can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

    Elias
    CEO & Founder
    http://awesomize.me

  18. Lisa,

    you are right on point. Businesses today are foolish not to embrace social media. It is a paradigm shift in marketing that simply cannot be ignored. Should they not want to do it themselves, there are plenty of companies like yours and mine that can do it for them.

    Learn, embrace it, or find someone that can do it for you. Keep preach!

  19. Next time somebody gets elitist about being too old for using Social Media ask them if they still advertise in the Yellow Pages or in the Newspaper. I’ve seen plenty of old school business types who have cut or dropped their advertising in ‘traditional’ media because it has become ineffective but don’t seek out new marketing channels.

    • Hey Bob,

      What’s funny is that as I read this, there’s two Yellow Pages books sitting outside my doorstep. They were delivered a week ago and I’ve yet to pick them up (or throw them away for that matter which I’ll do after I’m done typing this).

      Like you, I’ve had Real Estate clients ditch their traditional marketing efforts to go online. One Agent for example used to send out ~500 mailers every other month. Not only was it expensive, it was time-consuming. Today, she has 2 blogs averaging 600 – 800 uniques a day and 2-3 new prospective buyer registrations. Needless to say, she’s doing much better than she was with the mailers.

  20. I’m not entirely sure just where to start with this one. I was older than Lisa is now when I first laid eyes on a PC, but I could see where things were going and had my own computer at home within months of first seeing one appear at work (computers were such a novelty at that time that someone at work nicknamed the business’ computer “Spock”).
    I remember taking hours upon hours just figuring out how to connect with people online using crappy modem connections of 1200 baud or less via a crappier non-GUI where I had to memorize a batch of crazy backslash commands to get anywhere. But it was worth the effort as I eventually came to realize I had pretty much the whole world at my finger tips.
    It sounds like your annoyance with people who don’t want to adapt to new media as it evolves is every bit as strong as my annoyance with turning up at a SM-related event to have a batch of seemingly wondering I’m doing there.
    Judging from the comments I see on this post, there seem to be a number of older people reading your blog that are fully comfortable about being online and communicating online. I really do believe it does, as Dan said above, have little to do with age and more to do with “how much fat clogs your brain”.
    And as much of a kernel of truth Lisa’s post may hold for some people, I can’t help but wondering if the argument about the value of SM to an older population might be better made by showing how people in that demographic are successfully using it.

  21. This one hit a nerve. I totally agree.

    I’m 55, old by most standards. I’ve been working on web stuff for 15 years. I’ve picked up every new tech toy I can get my hands on.

    I’m curious. I want to know how things work. I I love learning new stuff, so I do it.

    But…

    I have clients who are YOUNGER than me that tell me they are too old.

    I’ve taught my 32 year old son things about the Internet.

    If I hear someone tell me one more time that they are too old to learn, I’m going to jab a pen into THEIR neck.

    Dude. Just try. Click on the button. It’s not that hard.

  22. Great reading, especially the comments. Some more articulate and considered than your post Lisa, but then again, you are writing as a personality and this is what you’ve been hired/or volunteered to do, provide a witty gen-y voice to marketing (I think).

    I think whether or not certain marketing or communication methods work and are picked up by your target audience depends on the social economics of this audience.

    I work in a lower socio-economic community and am sitting with individuals (of varying ages) coaching them on using computers most days. Yes, with some people I do help them use a mouse, but it’s not something that I’ll put in caps because that comes across as arrogant. I am for social media, but only if it suits your target audience, (or a section of your target audience if it’s an entire community).

    An article in the local newspaper worked instant wonders for a programme I deliver weekly. They never would’ve heard about it if I’d twittered it.

    From an active Twitterer and 26 year old Community Librarian
    (not an old fuddy duddy)

    • Todd: I’m in the Real Estate niche. Whenever an Agent tells me that, I tell them to allow Facebook to connect/import people from their email database and just watch what happens. More often than not, they come to experience/realize that most of their contacts actually *are* on Facebook (and Twitter for that matter). :-)

  23. I’ve come to believe that there is no way someone will understand it without experiencing it.

    It’s like trying to show someone what time looks like, they won’t get it until they can actually experience the effects of everything it influences around them.

    The problem with social media is there’s no “clock” you can base it off of.

    There’s also no finish line, its in motion and therefore you either have to catch up to it and jump on or wait until you notice the impact or loss you experience from not getting on board.

  24. Just because the owner of the company does not fully understand social media marketing, does not mean the company should ignore it. I speak with business about the benefits of social media often… and while they may not have the knowledge or desire to do it themselves, they do know that there is value in getting involved. Social media marketing is a great service to outsource to a competent freelancer or company. Just make sure all the accounts are set up in your company’s name, and that you have access to all the logins and passwords for all the accounts.

  25. I think the part about explaining to your dad what you do for a living was hilarious. I am younger (about to turn 23) but have had the same problem talking to most of my older family about it. I think a lot of people in older generations misunderstand the value of the internet and think that it replaces “actually talking to people.” It is a great supplement to live interaction, not a replacement.

  26. I love the title – You’re not too Old, you’re just Lazy. Unfortunately, its more complex. People are busy. Adding new things to an already maxed out schedule is the problem. If you’ve got to learn a lot of new things it adds to the burden, and then results are often slow. The Dalai Lama could start a FaceBook page and you might see only 4 people ‘like’ him after a month – and we all know that is not true. For many people using FaceBook is more about ego than converting time into cash. You have to be willing to spend the time and then, maybe, the cash will come from it. It is so chicken and egg and not always easy to predict.

  27. I love this article and have shared this on my Facebook page. Thank you!

    I work with clients who really want to enter social media but are afraid to be transparent. They don’t have a problem entering a seminar or conducting a regular meeting full of strangers but they have issues with revealing who they are online. They are afraid of what happens to this information once it is online…where does it go and how will people use it? (I’m referring to photos and video which always seems to be a grave problem…they don’t want their picture online.)

    But these ‘older’ folks know they need to be engaging with customers through social media and they take a stab at it but it is from a distance. ..meaning they hire someone like me to be their voice. It takes me a lot of effort to get them to work with me on the content I provide to their fans and friends. (Pulling teeth, sometimes.) But really, they need to be the one creating the content.

    I can’t get these folks to post a LinkedIn profile picture!

    (No matter how I try to educate them on the benefits of REALLY engaging in social media…all they see is the actual number of fans and friends…just numbers; and that is what I find to be a dividing line between older business folks and new age business owners. Measurement in numbers vs measurement in being effectual!)

    Another issue I have found is that they will engage in social media but they only want it for the URLs and to say that they have a FB or Twitter page, for example. They like the label for their business cards and marketing materials. Sort of a badge of honor to have a FB URL….

    So my point is that these older folks who say they are too old may eventually find their way to social media but will they use it to the extent at which it is effective? Very hard to say…

    Janine

  28. I’m in the Real Estate niche. For years, my business has been building/designing blogs for the Real Estate Industry and helping Agents dominate their marketplace. My oldest client as 73 years old. She loved everything about the work we were doing. And she absolutely loved that she felt connected to people every time she published something new or engaged with people on-line.

    Sure it can frightening and foreign at times. But it’s also a great opportunity to connect with new people and gain new experiences. At some point or other, you just have to do it.

  29. One of my favorite comments was, ‘I’ve been avoiding these things like the plague for YEARS and now I have to do what?’ when I asked someone to remove the battery from their laptop.

    Technology isn’t going to STOP progressing if a handful of people resist it. Learn it, embrace it, kick ass at it, and you’ll be much happier because of it!

  30. I do not hear the age argument as much as the time excuse. Which means they totally do not understand social media in my opinion. How much time does it take to say hello how are you doing?

  31. What a great post! And yes, all too familiar. I say it’s fear of the unknown! Yet sometimes they’ll surprise you, not too long ago I almost fell off my chair when my popped up on facebook requesting to be my friend!! lol

  32. This post is so true! Reminds me of some of the things I’ve heard from my parents regarding social media. I fully agree with the comment above, most of it is ‘the fear of the unknown’!

  33. I disagree that people over 40 do not use social media. As a 40+ professional with almost exclusively 40+ clients, I don’t see this reluctance at all. In fact, when I had Millenial age interns, I had to teach THEM how to use Twitter. And they were PR majors.

    I don’t think Twitter is a generational thing. Twitter is embraced more by comm’s pros and media. 90% of the U.S. online audience does NOT use Twitter at all; 12% who have Twitter accounts aren’t active.

    Now Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. You see all ages represented there. My 75 year old mom and 77 year old aunt have been using Facebook AVIDLY for years.

    It might not be that your 40+ clients are reluctant to learn or experiment with social media. They just might not relate that well to much younger consultants. That is always a possibility.

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