A Generationally Adjusted Social Media Guide Or Sharing For Mature Dummies


It’s virtually impossible to ignore the expansion of social networking in everyday life. It seems like one can’t go anywhere without someone pulling out a handheld device to check email, chat, or “Google” some information. The reactions of bystanders can be telling.  For example, the disdainful glance of the Baby Boomer, who abhors the intrusion or the look of envy by the Generation X’er, who recognized the latest iPhone and wants one just like it.

The difference in the reactions points to the problem generated when a Boomer tries to understand Social Media. Boomers have a hard time realizing that younger generations think it’s not enough to be physically at an event. They are compelled to check in, allowing them to participate, even comment in the online portion of the activity. “Sharing” has become as essential as Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell, & Touch to the younger generations!

I Share Therefore I Am
(Share Ergo Sum)

Just a few years ago information was distributed through handouts, bulletin boards, newspapers or in face to face meetings – today’s communication preferences include tweets, blogs, and posting. While facts and figures used to be presented by lecture, browsing and networking have become the norm. Information transfer has become associated with social networking.

According to Experian, 27% of the total internet time is spent on social networking sites while mobile internet users devote 15% of their time on social networking sites. It only makes sense that companies devote a greater share of their resources to penetrate this segment of communication. Because information is tied to people you know, HotSpot says this tacit endorsement results in a 13% higher conversion rate than an average sales lead.

Enterprising corporations are racing to establish their internet credentials. Companies that provide valued, unique content are rewarded with better search engine results. Customers that consume this content place a value on the information received and return again and again to the source. The more often they return the better chance the companies have of becoming a trusted advisor.

Content is important but it is only one part of the online experience. Social media is really just a technology that creates a place for people to share in that content then comment and chat. Social Networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest form when people connect and establish interactions. So your goal with social media marketing is to attract new customers through friends who in turn share information with their friends.

Although it sounds revolutionary it all comes down to marketing powered by word of mouth boosted by technology.

“75% of people are somewhat or highly likely to share content they like online with friends, co-workers or family – 49% do this at least weekly.”

-Chadwich Martin Bailey, Consumer Pulse 2010

In today’s highly mobile society the boomer’s morning breakfast at the diner has been replaced by Gen X’ers checking into Facebook. Likewise, the communal morning paper in the corner booth has been swapped with online content and edited with “like” and “share” buttons. Depending on the Wi-Fi connection, information is moved from a friend’s desktop computer through a social network to a hand held unit to be viewed, considered and returned with comments. It can also be shared as-is with another group or converted to a condensed observation and broadcast on twitter.

Boomer’s that don’t adjust to the new reality will share the fate of print newspapers that failed to make the jump to electronic publishing.

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