Too Old for Social Media?
At some point in the evening, the topic of social media came up. More precisely, Facebook and the issues surrounding privacy settings or the stupid things people post on their wall. Along with “Who’s got time?” these are the reasons most give for not engaging more in social media.
My friends run their own businesses, participate and work in the arts and are very politically and culturally aware, so I find it ironic that I would be the one to be most active online.
I was the oldest there by almost ten years. It’s not a big deal (other than the odd incontinence joke). But it’s not just among my close friends that I become conscious of my age. When I go to social media events or interact online with my digital pals, the faces looking back at me are much younger than the one I see in my mirror.
While the over 50 crowd is the fastest growing segment of people actively on social media platforms, I don’t see a lot of wrinkles on those avatars.
47% of internet users who use social networking sites are in my age range (50-64)
The Pew Internet & American Life Project finds social networking usage between April 2009 and May 2010:
- Grew 88% among users aged 55-64
- 65 and older group’s presence grew 100%
- Users aged 50 and older increased usage from 22% to 42%
- 47% of 50-64 year-old users indicate they use social media
- 26% of those over 65 indicated they use social media
One of the first things I tell a client who has decided to adopt social media for his business is that it is not a short term project; that building trust and a following takes time.
As you get older, time becomes less abstract and more finite. Relationships become more precious and the need for making a difference is more pressing.
This why people my age and older are embracing social networking. It connects you to your world; not just the world at large but your personal one. And it’s not a one way communication. It doesn’t depend on you remembering to look up a friend that you haven’t seen in years. Chances are that friend will have already looked you up. And as for those people you’d rather not connect with, there’s a setting for that.
Anyone of any age can find value in social media, be it personal or professional. The new economy is built on ideas not iron. And that resource is very renewable.
So if you believe that you’re too old to get involved with social media – you’re not!
This Holiday season, reach out to someone older, friend (or re-friend) them and give them a big digital hug.
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.