Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adjust your Set

I was skimming - an interesting media platform for social responsiblity content - and came across a post by their CEO, Joe Sibilia, in their terrific TalkBack blog section. Only Joe was writing not about social responsibility but about social media. He wonders if Boomers will adjust to it. He shares examples of those who have adapted and prevailed personally and in business, and others who question the value of sharing...yeah, yeah...the old "what I had for breakfast" content, and dismiss social media with those kinds of digs about it. (I'm so done with that, by the way. See my "Facebook Off" post. Reminds me of that old "Jennifer Anniston's sweater" line.)

Anyway, it was thoughtful post, but with one mistep, I think. He quoted a Social Media Examiner article that suggested a Twitter plan with "up to 20 tweets a day" to grow your business. And those still harping on breakfast commentary content could easily use that as more fuel to justify throwing their hands in the air and stepping away from the keyboard. "I barely have time to email..!" It's not like I have to DEFEND the pervasiveness and benefit of social media (though, that's sort of what I do when I coach executives in it), but I do feel like we are in the middle of a huge sociological shift that we should enjoy observing and being a part of, and not fight the phenomenon.

Here's my comment to Joe's post:
As a boomer who is a social media professional, I can tell you that it IS hard to embrace this world as nimbly and naturally as, say, my teenage nephew or 20-something niece. But as a marketer I see the imperative to keep up with the way the world is going. Debating the very question of "whether we'll adjust" is sort of moot as I think we'll have little choice within the next couple of years. We ARE adjusting, in our own ways. Why, I actually know some boomers with touch-tone telephones! Ha. (or LOL, if you prefer.) There will always be Luddites among us - as there have been for every advancement - but there will always be those like my 80-year old aunt who sends me daily jokes via her WebTV. FYI, the latest research from Comscore shows use of Facebook by boomers up 106% year to year 10/08 to 10/09. And it's sort of a trite research point already that next to teenage boys, moms are the second biggest demographic playing mobile games.

The one thing that I take exception to in your post is that the "be prepared to tweet 20 x a day" was taken a bit out of context from the Social Media Examiners article. They end that article with the reminder that:
"...Although a tweet plan [to schedule and auto-release up to 20 tweets/day] is useful when your schedule gets busy, it’s not a way to avoid real-time tweeting. ...But there are different opinions about scheduling posts. Many people feel scheduling tools take away from the value of real-time interaction on Twitter. And they are right.

You must find a balance to make this work for your business. And you can only find this balance by jumping in, listening to your audience and tweaking the content you share on Twitter to get the best results."

Twitter is just one tactic. But don't forget that you received 20 comments and counting on this blog -- which is another tactic of 2-ways communication. We just each will find the platforms and ways to reach out and find and engage in communities in our own ways. We are a tad starved for human contact, and sadly a lot of us will rely on digital versions of it...boomer or GenXer. The good news is that we are ALSO finding ways, like Tweet-ups and Meet-ups to take our interactions OFFline, too. But we arrange those in-person meetings got it: social media.

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