More questions about social media and generations

If you read my post from yesterday, you know I explored questions about the relationship between age, other personal traits, and social networking. I asked, Is social networking of the generation or in the genes? and shared my experience of knowing many baby boomers who “are technologically savvy, blogging daily and using social media like it was the best thing since, well, color television.

Today, Jason Chervokas has a similar line of questioning, Will the Me Generation Go Social? Jason is inclined toward a different conclusion and is well worth the read.

Will the generation whose media habits were formed by the heyday of network TV, change its behavior and begin doing the things social media participants do: contribute, participate, and tag?

I suspect that few boomers post pictures to Flickr, keep blogs, or tag links with del.icio.us. Partially that illustrates a technology gap. But more importantly it highlights the gulf that exists between the way boomers and their kids think of personal messages.

Jason makes the point that many people are uncomfortable with openness and publicly sharing ‘personal messages.’ He perceives this discomfort is greater among baby boomers than among younger generations.

Take a look at the full post and let me know how these ideas rest with you.

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2 Responses to More questions about social media and generations

  1. ann michael says:

    Blaine – you’ve inspired me! This is always so frustrating to me. I’m 43 and I have been blogging for a bit over a year. The person whose pictures I view on Flickr is at least 5 years older than I am. My friends range in age from their 20’s to pushing 70 – I love them all and find value in each one.

    I work almost completely virtually – through webex, phone, email, collaboration sites, you name it. I keep in contact with my friends more by electrons than anything else – they’re all over the world, that’s how I have to do it. I also take time to meet with people and talk to them in person and on the phone – but the bottom line is that one of the reasons I am so happy with my life is that I can keep in touch with so many great people in so many ways – I’m not limited.

    Remember the days when you didn’t call someone in the day time because AT&T charged a fortune? Remember when you lost touch with people because you couldn’t find time to write and mail a “letter” (you didn’t just write quick notes)?

    I didn’t get my hands on a computer until I was 18 – and I haven’t let go since.

    My husband says I’m a freak and that the others my age don’t act this way – I think there are actually many that do.

    It was an interesting point you brought up about the older generations considering messages to be more personal. I still have personal messages – but 90% of what I have to say I’d say to anyone! It’s very liberating!

    Maybe it’s extroverts that to well with social media? That doesn’t work either – I know some very successful blogging and networking introverts as well.

    Maybe there isn’t a formula at all?

  2. Where to start Ann? Maybe at “freak”… (which I’m sure your husband uses in jest.) I have heard the same thing from other couples for the last few years and it is true in our home. One person has an online life, the other seldom checks personal email.

    I recall a few years back when I played games on the computer more hours than I could count. When my wife complained, I felt guilty because it was not very productive. These days, I’m on the computer just as much, but it is all about productivity and learning and collaborating and building/maintaining relationships. It’s about an online life that complements and expands my off line life. No more guilt!

    Now “liberating.” What a great way to put it! There’s a post that is going to come out of your use of that word (because I was starting to write a book in this comment.) Stay tuned – it may need to percolate a bit.

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