Last weeks Social Workplace Twitter Chat (#SWChat) was on Social Project Management, with guest Liz Pearce of Liquid Planner.
The event was going great, lots of contribution and engagement from 130+ people until I asked what I thought at the time was an innocuous question:
Q5) Social Project Management promotes transparency and engagement. But who embraces and who resists?
...to which Larry Torres responded:
Like moths to a flame, this prompted a barrage of tweets from participants defending Generation X (primarily from Generation X people of course). The hypothesis was then posed that maybe this generalisation was too simplistic.
But is it?
Let's take a look again at the question that was asked - "...who resists and who embraces". No one is saying that the older generation are not able to adopt social media just that they are more likely to resist initially and therefore adoption may be slower.
It stands to reason that if email has been your prime communication channel for 20 years, you are more likely to resist the transition to a social communication platform than someone who has never used email. But with the right argument and justification, adoption should be fairly straight forward.
It's not age that's the cause here, it's change from what we are used to. After all we are creatures of habit.
But it is clear age is a touchy subject when we talk about social media.
Take a look at these figures that were used in a marketing campaign some time ago to show someone socially connected (the lady on the left) and someone that was not (the man on the right):
Why do you think the poster campaign containing these figures was removed from the public domain after a series of complaints?
Was it racial stereotyping? Was it considered sexist - that women get social media but men don't?
No - it was thought to be ageist...
The people in this poster are animated characters. The business women may look to be in her mid 30's but can you be sure? The man however was generalised to be "old" and therefore the insinuation of the poster was that old people do not get social media.
The man has his head in his hands. You cannot see his face. So how do you know if he is old? Is it just because he has little hair? I have virtually no hair, yet I don't think I'm old.
The point is, social media is not age specific for adoption, but are the older generation more likely to resist than the younger generation? Absolutely.
(please note the use of the words "more likely" here - it's not always the case)
However this tweet from Terence Coughlin is not only good advice but made me chuckle: