10 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Like Me Should Embrace Social Media

Filed in Blogging , Facebook , Twitter 24 comments

The Future is NOT just “in the future.” The Future is NOW!

Dive in!

Dive in!

Just after New Year’s, a friend told me she was spending three hours a day on Facebook. “How could you be wasting so much of your life!” I’d asked her — genuinely concerned that she was “stupid” for getting caught up in all the silly buzz.

How dramatically my own life has changed in four months!

That’s the purpose of this blog — to help my Baby Boomer generation, and my retired friends, and my career-contemplating students all discover how this major New Media revolution is changing Everything — and for the betterment of all.

Here are 10 reasons why we — Baby Boomers in particular — should “Dive In”

1. Something “out there” for everyone: It’s not just Oprah, Demi Moore, Dave Matthews, and Barack Obama on Twitter. Thirty million other Tweeters plus around 300 million users each on MySpace and Facebook . . . and the list of social media participants goes on. A host of different platforms with a variety of advantages for people from widely different walks of life with a huge diversity of different interests. There is something “Out There” speaking to you — if you listen.

2. “Fountain of Youth”: Ask yourself what you “want” — to make you happier, more fulfilled, more connected, more ________________ [fill in the blank]. If you are one of the “elder” Baby Boomers like me, then one possible response might be: “I’d like to feel younger and, perhaps, more hopeful.” After having spent these several weeks learning/experimenting/engaging with the New Media and the communities of folks using them, I can appreciate the “Fountain of Youth” properties associated with being a young person just embarking on a new, exciting adventure.

3. DO something New: Laziness is not next to Godliness. Get off the couch and do something NEW.

4. Get “famous”: Think about someone like Susan Boyle – a 48-year-old Scottish woman with a magnificent voice, who thanks to the magic of YouTube and Twitter is now known worldwide and will get a chance to bring joy to multitudes. You, too, can be famous if you’d like. Read my first blog post.

5. Find answers: Is there anything you don’t know? I’m talking here to the men (who occasionally don’t like to admit lack of knowledge) as well as the women (who usually do know “everything,” right, ladies?) Not only are answers to your questions all over the internet, but you can discover new friends who share your interests by asking questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.

6. Be creative: Speaking of Twitter, it’s a very simple technology with tons of “applications.” That means any of us can shape the medium in creative ways. Lots of people may merely “text-message” friends and family, but some of us use it to discover new information available on the internet. It’s also a cool way to share personal insights that may be helpful to others. And its a great place to ask questions. On a more creative note, as an English teacher I found it useful in having my students frame a message of “substance” in 140 characters or less. I’d love to hear other creative uses people have for Twitter.

7. Keep in touch: Then there’s Facebook: you don’t have to spend three hours a day for this site to prove its value. Here are some of the ways it works for me: (a) keeping in touch with close friends and new acquaintances who don’t require phone calls; when you connect up with people on this site and they “update their status” you can make a comment and carry on a mini-conversation; (b) showing photos of your grandchildren; (c) letting family members know about the plays you saw on Broadway during your vacation — all at one time if they are on Facebook, too.

8. Start a blog. Set up your own soapbox and proclaim your views and knowledge to the world — online and, even, offline about any topics that excite you.

9. Be an explorer: Then there’s Friendfeed, Del.icio.us, YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Ezine, Squidoo, Technorati and the entire Blogosphere to explore.

10. Make Great New Friends: I made a new friend on Twitter one afternoon, and she said something that rang true for me, as well: “Honestly, nothing as exciting as this social media revolution has happened to me in decades.” Try it, you may feel the same.

Readers, do us all a great service: write a comment and share some of the reasons you believe Baby Boomers . . . of all ages . . . should embrace social media.

Next post: My comments on 15 Maxims for Social Media Marketing

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   30 May 2009
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May 31, 2009
7:08 am

Hi Shari,

Just stumbled across your blog. These are all good reasons to connect with others through social media. What we have done as Boomer Diva Nation is taken our online group to another level and connected offline. Every year the women get together for a Girlfriends Weekend and it strengthens our online bond even more.

May 31, 2009
10:47 am

Great post Shari. Just wonder if there are any Boomers left NOT being already in. Boomers changed the world and always explored new things and put them to their advantage. And while Gen Y will outnumber the Boomers – boomers are already on. There are about 400 Million in the social web now. Boomers are the second largest group, generation
wise. From couch potatoes, to activists, from average Joe to presidents are using the social web one way or the other. And it is actually pretty obvious: Wikipedia says: “Boomers grew up at a time of dramatic social change”. So we love social changes.

Only a few intellectually disadvantaged people, who are always afraid to make a mistake or touch something new didn’t made it and I think that’s OK. Let them rest in peace 😉 – Remember PEACE was a big part of us boomers…

May 31, 2009
5:46 pm

Great reasons here, Shari…all of them! And, how fun that you and I “met” thru Twitter, of all things! And, hopefully we’ll really meet this week.

The possibilities available through social media are immense, but actually seeing them before you jump in is difficult–it reminds me of the early days of pc’s when I was still in corporate. The tech people (who had used pc’s for years)kept coming to me and asking (so they could get the pc ready before delivering to me) “What applications do you want?” At that point, I had no idea what an “application” was, let alone any idea of the options available. So, I stumbled along only doing email because it didn’t seem that I could do much harm! When I started my own business, I jumped in feet-first and learned because I had to…no more tech people!

Now I’m focused on social media as a marketing option for my services and that includes a blog, too. I never liked writing (although I’m a bang-up editor!) and so to think I’d be writing frequently to let people know about me and my message is amazing…but a wonderful way to become known and recognized for my services and products.

Probably the most amazing thing to me is how well you can get to know someone online, and feel like you are friends with them when you meet them for the first time. Happens at “tweet-ups” and gatherings locally when I run across people who I know from Twitter and Facebook. You can learn a lot about people from their entries in their pages, and it makes for very interesting face-to-face meetings! The conversation gets going very quickly and can cover lots more than just socially polite discussion… because it’s like meeting up with a friend!

Looking forward to connecting later this week, Shari!



May 31, 2009
8:27 pm
#4 journalistjourney :

As a new user of Twitter and one of those aging Baby Boomers, I totally agree with the points you made. I’ve been surprised how much I’ve learned from the people on Twitter and the good things that have evolved from my participation. Good blog, Shari!

May 31, 2009
10:15 pm

Hi Shari-
great post-i’ve been a bit of a social media trail blazer with my boomer friends- they want to know why i insist on staying up until all hours of the night- meeting new people
here’s my most important reason why boomers need to learn about socialmedia-
Cause it works!!!
I tweet about a blog post- and i get immediate results on my SEO(search engine optimization)
I talk about specials i’m running-and the same folks see it
I meet great new people who follow me- and i’m actually learning how to build relationships and bring them outside of twitter.
all great things-

I’ve been blogging about the same topic on my company blog- becasue so many folks i know are trying to figure out how this all works- feel free on grabbing some articles if you are interested in re-blogging them and linking- Im sure there is content that you are writing that would fit for my friends as well- let me know

May 31, 2009
11:35 pm

Interesting Shari, maybe i was a bit too quick. All my friends from school, university, jobs are one way or the other wired in the social web. But I guess that has to do with me – and dragging them in since 6 or so years. I started LinkedIn in 2003, blog since 2005…

In any case it is great to see so many people advocating the evolution of our social strength. Let’s keep rocking….

Jun 1, 2009
7:11 am
#7 sharisax :

I could do a blog post on EACH one of the 15 social medium maxims in this post: http://searchenginewatch.com/3633934, but the concluding one is PERFECT, and that is that “overall achievement of individuals and companies will be largely dependent on their social media success.” Of course, they [esp. businesses] need to GET STARTED to get to the point of “social media success.”

Jun 1, 2009
12:23 pm

Hi Shari, excellent post. Analysis also shows that you’re correct and among the largest demographics driving sites such as Facebook and Twitter!

Jun 1, 2009
3:18 pm

I resonated with your point #10 which read “Honestly, nothing as exciting as this social media revolution has happened to me in decades.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Twitter’s CEO, Evan Williams, @ev at a tweet-up earlier this year and I was so grateful to meet him and share “Thanks for re-making this old xxxxxx!”

He looked at me with a gaze of puzzlement. I made it clear that Twitter has provided me a language to use as a means to connect with younger generations and as a business communication tool.

Jun 9, 2009
8:11 pm
#10 Benjamin Devine :

I first got on the blogsite for extra credit, but this one blog entry alone has shown me the true gold you’re putting down here Prof. I PRINTED this up to give to my mom because she still, to this day, does not “get it” when it comes to online resources. I’m hoping this will help inspire her.

Jun 9, 2009
8:30 pm
#11 Quan "Tiger" Vu :

Social networking not only improves our communication but also provides many great chances to success.
I found many of my client’s preferences and hobbies through facebook. These websites are great resources to hook up with old buddies, find a job, and to form business. Big ideas can be met on the golf course; however, we can say big ideas can be met up online nowadays.
Tks to the internet

Jun 9, 2009
9:00 pm
#12 sharisax :

Great to have a New Voice join the conversation, especially someone a lot younger than a Baby Boomer who can point to even more reasons to join the Social Media Revolution: it is key for everyone to realize that the Internet adds exponentially to our array of resources for both business and personal matters.

Jun 10, 2009
12:41 am
#13 Fikreslassie Tesfa :

The world is changing dramatically, if people will not change they will be left behind. And, the price of not changing will be devastating. The Baby Boomers should follow the generation X footsteps since they are doing things differentely! For example, when the computer hit the ground in the 80’s a lot of people did not take the chance to adapt it, but those who took the chance made fortunes. Therefore, we must learn from history to better our lives and the people around us. Change is critical for everybody to succeed.

Jun 10, 2009
8:51 am
#14 sharisax :

Fikre, I totally agree that the social media revolution/evolution is yet another instance where the Older need to learn from the Younger. You provide a great example of how computers have changed our lives. I’m reminded of 20+ years ago when my older son “won” an Atari computer and he was the first person on the block to have this personal machine to play with. Now who can live without one?
Better yet, why would anyone want to be without the tremendous resources available by participating online. And a more modern example is email. Certainly most of us Baby Boomers would probably never have dreamed that so many of us would be checking email first thing every morning. Isn’t it all so exciting!

Jun 11, 2010
7:54 am
#15 Glenn :

Loved your “call to action” post! It is critical we babyboomers get off the couch now! Seth Godin talks about knowledge with insight as being the most powerful combination. Guess what – we babyboomers have decades of experience to share insight from! If we do we just might move this economy from the knowledge economy to the wisdom economy! I did a blog on this being the Right Time & Right Place for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs!



“Build A Business That Serves Your Life”

Author Jun 11, 2010
9:33 am
#16 Shari Weiss :

Glenn, Thanks for finding me. I’m with you AND Seth on how “our” [i.e. Babyboomers] time is Now! With our experience and accumulated wisdom, we can become the Artists that will create a whole new and better world — while living more fulfilling lives ourselves.

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