Social Media for Boomers

“Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” ~ Brian Sollis

Put away that cozy image of the little old lady knitting a sweater for the grandkids, or the distinguished gentlemen playing chess in the park, because the newest elder generation is not going to sit quietly in a rocking chair. This according to Brian Profitt in his ReadWriteWeb article, “Why Boomers Won’t Release Their Grip on Technology.”

In August, 2013 the Pew Research Center on Retirement released a report with some fascinating statistics on social media among Americans 50 and older:

  • 60% of people in the 50-64 year age group, which is most of the boomer population, are now on at least one social media site.
  • Facebook is by far the most popular social media site for this age group.
  • Baby boomers spend 27 hours per week online, which is two hours more per week than those who are between 16 and 34.

My guest on this week’s Awakening to Awareness radio show was Carol McManus, America’s LinkedIn Lady. A self-described ‘recovering corporate executive,’ Carol left the comfort of the corporate cocoon (in 2007) after 26 years and reinvented herself as a coach, consultant and leadership trainer. In a few short years, her speaking and consulting requests shifted to social media because everyone wanted to know how she did what she did and how they could replicate her success for their own business.

                            Carol McManus

Carol McManus

On the show, Carol made it clear that this generational cohort was not heading “out to pasture” and that they are increasingly making use of social media for multiple purposes. She highlighted Facebook and LinkedIn as the two platforms most likely used by boomers and told listeners why. Not surprisingly, Facebook is the account of choice for those interested in connecting or reconnecting and rekindling relationships. And LinkedIn for business connections. Carol talked about online privacy, managing your own social media, stepping into one’s technology fears and why to avoid Twitter.

It was an enlightening and informative interview. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes here or on the Awakening to Awareness show page by clicking here.

23 thoughts on “Social Media for Boomers

  1. How the hell do you do it? Day after day of stuff that hits the mark! Keep going, Eric! I want you to know that what you’re doing is … dunno – lost for words! … life changing?

    • Thank you, Bruce. It’s is good to know the message reaches some. As for day after day, I wish I could keep up that pace. While I enjoy sharing via the blog, it is challenging to create time to post – even every second of third day. 😦

  2. I’ll have to come back to listen to the podcast…I’m intrigued about her thoughts on Twitter. As a member in good standing of the Boomer Generation, I find Twitter much more enlightening than facebook. Facebook seems to be nothing but lame jokes and cartoons and recipes. On Twitter I follow photographers and travel sites mostly, and learn a host of information from them.

    • I believe, Angeline, that Carol’s Twitter reference was more in the context of people ‘starting out’ with social media. I know she is a Twitter user (as she is with many platforms). While sounding a cautionary tone, she easily cites the pros and cons of all the social media tools.

  3. I am going to share this with my mother. She keeps asking my about the different social networks, but is reluctant to join one. She feels that are “young people” things. This article will enlighten her. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

  4. I used to use social media (Facebook and Twitter mostly) but found them very intrusive and stopped, Eric, although I’m not yet in the age bracket you mention. You never know, I may one day return to those sites, but right now I’m happy with my little blog and the blogs I follow!

  5. Pretty cool, seniors doing their thing with technology. It’s a good way to keep the mind active ’cause there’s always something to learn. Best thing is, they can pick and choose how technology will benefit them most and work with it. Don’t have to be a guru. Just learning what you wanna know is enough.

  6. My father’s mother (technically “Granny” I guess) had a facebook account long before I ever did! She’s always been incredibly savvy online, it sort of amazes me. I think she’s in her 80s now.

  7. My kids all use Twitter, shunning Facebook.
    Why, I ask each term.
    It’s for old people.
    That’s fine. My attention span isn’t short enough for Twitter — yet.

    • And such is the growing trend… youth shift to Twitter and Pinterest and the chronologically gifted pick up the rear, co-opting Facebook. It’s a predictable migration, not just with technology. And in due course, they both become obsolete. In the meantime, we align with what works best for our attention spans.

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