Is Social Media for the Young… Or Is It More of a Lifestyle?

Sitting in on a PR meeting last week I was pondering the thought of my internal consulting teams starting to blog and participate in social media when someone from across the room said Social Media is more relative to the younger demographics we have in our organization.

Of course the more seasoned veterans of my team all pointed to me as the NON example of Social Media being age related (don’t go asking me my age now). When I remarked – “Social media isn’t an age thing it’s a lifestyle.”

And I do believe that is true – I think the adoption or lack thereof in some companies is because the more senior folks have now adopted the internet and social media rather than growing up IN the internet with social media all around them.

What’s your view and how is the adoption of social media going in your organization? I would love to hear about it.

10 comments to Is Social Media for the Young… Or Is It More of a Lifestyle?

  • Nate Nash

    Without a doubt it is a lifestyle. Maybe even an ethos or mantra. In my organization…(which is the same as yours)…we have a relatively significant amount of the “right generation”, but pretty limited participation in social media, whether inside or outside the firewall. My sense is that our corporate mindset has filtered down to individual lifestyle.

  • Travis V

    I personally have only begrudgingly evaluated one social technology after another because I was concerned that I would fall behind or miss something if I didn’t. My evaluation was based more on fear of lack of participation than in seeing any actual value in participating. I would imagine I’m part of a relatively substantial sub- classification of “those who have dabbled in social technology.”

    Many of the people I’ve been around that are successful in business tend to very quickly analyze the effectiveness of tools and approaches (as they relate to whatever their daily lives / objectives might be). They are more inclined to look for faults and disqualify the value of something than they are to patiently seek out the good qualities. So I think the real deal-breaker for most social technologies (for this class of people) is that they do NOT afford an immediate sense of their value. Things like Facebook (and ESPECIALLY Twitter) have very little apparent value at first use. They require immersion and often patience to see any dividends. (I wouldn’t know, because I certainly didn’t have the patience or interest)

    What class of people are most inclined to wait out that period of time before dividends start rolling in? In my opinion, with social technology it’s mostly people who have very specific personal goals that are directly tied to attracting visitors to a web site, increasing their personal exposure, or other very explicit goals that are tied to web traffic. And of course, there are also the people who just enjoy socializing, and don’t mind frittering – err, I mean, Tweeting – away their time talking about and listening to mind numbing minutea. Btw – I gotta wonder how much of the supposed value of social technologies is a fabrication of the same incestuous circle of “influencers” who stand to benefit most from their adoption. There is definitely another subclassification of social users who are under mass hypnosis, and a little too quick to point to Scoble’s blog (btw: I really enjoy Scoble’s content … just saying that it’s very annoying to see blogs where all the pointers are going to the top 10 bloggers’ sites … a lot of blogs are reading more like fanmail than actual content).

    Social technologies make it possible for anyone to post an opinion. But the easy access also means that a lot of the content is very poor.

    I think a lot of the social tech hold-outs have higher expectations for the content they read. They already don’t have enough time to read the NYT or other publications they actually subscribe to (well written, great content, more ORIGINAL content than simply kowtowing to A-list bloggers like a lot of blogs out there today are doing). This person (in their mind) has a lot better things to read than some ditsy observation about riding the bus that some casual friend wrote on Twitter, or another drone fawning over Godin or Gladwell intellectuosity.

    Nice blog, btw!

  • Paul Dunay

    Good point Nate – it is really an individual lifestyle choice(no analogies here 😉

  • Paul Dunay

    Travis

    I agree with your approach in not being left behind – I started my blog 2 1/2 years ago as a ‘Sandbox’ that I could learn about SM.

    But I would point out that the amount of blog content has surpassed the amount of content in the Library of Congress and that there is more User Generated Content than Publisher content being produced – to me that means more folks will find some comfort level with SM even if it is just a small comment here or there

  • Martin Edic

    Lifestyle. However I am in social media as a B-B marketer so the age thing is far less of an issue. I believe it might have relevance in B-C.

  • Paul Dunay

    Interesting Martin

    I wonder if as you say the adoption of social media is stronger in B2C at younger ages

    sounds like a survey in the making

  • Sodexo Careers

    “Social media isn’t an age thing it’s a lifestyle.”

    I love that – can I quote you on our blog?

    I would have to agree it’s not an age issue anymore – it may have been once but not anymore.

    I am a marketing person in a recruiting department at a large company and we (in the last 6 months) have embraced blogging as well as Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube and we dabble on Twitter. These tools allow us to generate conversations with potential candidates and to take charge of our online presence. Being the coordinator of all of these efforts I have been in touch with people all over the world through these online social networks. Skeptics can say what they wish but they can’t argue with the fact that these connections would not have occurred without them!

  • JV

    The slow adoption of social media, in the b2b market, is due to an “organizational” issue. One could argue most tech companies are pretty forward thinking, and don’t depend on the younger generation in their company culture to keep them ahead of trendy user technologies. Most companies understand the relevance of social media, the amount of social media activity, and believe in the possibility of making an impact on their buzz meter – however, they simply don’t know HOW to do it…how to support the initiative organizationally, what resources they need, who pays for it, who manages the initiative and who participates (who becomes their #1 evangelist in the blogosphere). And neither do their marketing or PR agencies.

    Companies must 1) align their product, marketing, and corporate communications groups behind a social media priority and allocate experimental budget to support it (why, because all of these groups can benefit from social media equally but differently), 2) then they must invest in the analytics to understand where they stand….where they rank against their competitive set on the social media meter, what’s being said and identify their most influential authors, 3) finally an organization must take what they’ve learned, develop an attack strategy, and assemble a social media “participation team” of product experts who can leverage the analytics (understand sentiment, themes, issues, influencers) to engage in a variety of social media conversations and authors, interjecting their product technology expertise around the real issues their peers are talking about. The ultimate goal with any social media initiative is to make a positive impact on the amount of activity around your brand…increase the number of favorable conversations, increase the quality of your content by learning what your customers care about, increase your overall user sentiment, increase your competitive share of voice. MORE BUZZ.

    But, like I said, before a company can benefit from social media, it must first align itself organizationally and dedicate the resources a true social media initiative will require. In a recessive market where every dollar spent is being scrutinized, enterprise tech companies will be the last ones to take the risk on engaging in a new media platform. I believe this is a serious missed opportunity because social media will continue to evolve as users are empowered to become their own thought leaders and grow their own communities around their individual content. We know peer to peer communication is one of the most valuable information exchanges when IT is making a purchase decision, and social media enables just that, with or without a marketers participation.

  • Paul Dunay

    AMEN JV AMEN!

  • Beth

    I guess I’m also proof that it’s lifestyle. Re: age, let’s just say I remember when Kennedy was shot. And I am using social media quite a bit for marketing our products, messages and services, and I use it all the time for personal pursuits. I’ve reconnected with old friends, made new ones, learned about new technologies, found out which ones to avoid. It’s definitely part of my lifestyle.

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