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?