07 Apr

The Social Media Generation Gap

Every generation is known for their accomplishments. Each generation is associated with a historical event. All generations are defined by their lasting legacy. Generation Y is becoming known for its technological advances in social communications.

Constant interconnectivity, real-time communication and obsessive sharing are resulting in a transparent world where boundaries between public and private are blurred. A traditional, private social interaction is now publicized on an individual’s network newsfeed. The difference in generation mindsets was truly apparent at this past weekend’s Social Learning Summit at American University.

Held by the Social Media Club – AU Chapter – the event focused on social media’s effect on education and relationships. During one specific panel session, When Parents Tweet: The Social Media Generation Gap, many audience members, as well as panelists, presented their theories as to the varying acceptance of new technologies by different age brackets.

During the discussion I felt as though the panelists and audience members were missing the point – all generations experience advances in technology. Everyone adjusts with the times and utilizes tools they find value in personally. One older member of the audience asked the panelists a great question, “Why should I use social media? What value does it offer me? I can communicate just fine with traditional methods – snail mail, for example.”

In my opinion, she is right! Why fix something that isn’t broken? Letters worked for my grandmother, so I will just have to communicate with her via a channel she is most comfortable with. It is a very common theory among marketers: if your audience is already utilizing one platform, don’t try to connect with them on another. However, if my grandmother wanted to stay in constant contact with me, she may have to compromise and use email – I won’t push for Twitter, just yet!