Taking the Social Media Plunge

April 22, 2014

If you’re a big Downton Abbey fan like me, you might remember a scene from an episode in the first season. Carson, the Head Butler, sits down to make his first phone call on a “strange” device known as the telephone. As he sits down, he stares at the phone with a strong sense of dis-trust. In his mind, the telegraph has been a perfectly good means of communication. He begrudgingly makes an awkward first phone call and is suddenly ushered into a new technological era.

Today, there’s a group of people just like the Carson the Butler from Downton Abbey. They’re set in their ways, don’t like change and don’t know what to make of today’s new communications tools (such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). Perhaps they’re overwhelmed or just don’t see the point in learning and spending time on them.

Like them or not, these communications tools are not a passing fad. They’ve revolutionized the way people communicate with each other and have changed the way businesses communicate with and attract new customers.

In the past few years, I’ve had the chance to sit down and talk with leaders of organizations (and ordinary citizens) about social media and, in some cases, guide them through the creation of their first Twitter account. After spending time with these Twitter newbies, I see the light bulbs go off in their head. Slowly, they begin to appreciate these tools and understand their potential.

Recently, I had the opportunity to watch Erik Qualman’s latest “Socialnomics 2014” video (see below). What caught my attention was the statement that grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter. This gave me some satisfaction since I’ve always appreciated Twitter’s potential to connect people and build community. At the same time, Twitter will not and should not ever replace the face-to-face communication that takes place in bars, coffeehouses and at grandma’s kitchen table. But the growth of new users in older demographics on Twitter is an encouraging sign that a new group of users is willing to learn some of these social media tools.

How about you…have your parents or grandparents embraced any “new” social media tools? What has their experience been like?

1 Angelia Sims April 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

I had no idea grandparents were the fastest growing Twitter users! Maybe we have Jimmy Fallon to thank for that? I’d like to think my grandparents would be tweeting but they have all passed on. I think my Papa would have been the first to embrace all the social media. Or my grandma Owens. She had a computer and took classes before that was popular in her age group. Pretty cool!

2 Tim April 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Hi Angelia:

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think you’re right about Jimmy Fallon…he’s probably introduced a lot of older people to Twitter. And it’s interesting to think about our parents and grandparents and how they might enjoy (or not enjoy) Twitter. Sounds like you had some inquisitive grandparents. I know my grandmother on my mom’s side…I always called her my “hip” grandma because she liked watching videos on MTV (when they actually had them). Would she be hip enough to enjoy Twitter or Facebook? That I’m not sure about. Thanks again for stopping by….have a great day!

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