It's a Generation Thing

It’s a Generation Thing

As a Baby Boomer who graduated with a Degree in Communications in the first Public Relations class (1980) from Valdosta State University, some people might not think I know much about social media. I have millennial kids who grew up with computers and all sorts of other gadgets, including cell phones and personal devices. With my educational background and pride in place, (and more importantly for my boys not to feel like they knew more than I did) I work hard to keep up.

Instead of taking a class, I surround myself with young people who are always in the know. I’m not afraid to ask questions and soak up their enthusiasm for the ever- changing social media platforms. I’d say I know more about this topic than most of my friends, although admittedly I still have a lot to learn. I’m inviting you to follow my journey as I share what I am learning in hopes you can learn too.

It all began when I was “that parent” whose kids cringed when I signed onto Facebook. I had to swear I would never ask their friends to be my “friends.” They couldn’t believe it when I signed up for Twitter…and Instagram? Surely I would not embarrass them and get on that too. But I did (wink). Make no mistake. I am not trying to be of the millennial mindset. On the other hand, I embrace my Baby Boom status and the ability to get into this social media game and play along too.

To have influence, one must understand the power of communication in all forms. Whether it is the written word, target market advertising, journalistic avenues such as press releases and well-played pitches to promote a product, I understand a clear and timely message knows no boundaries to create influence.

Many in my generation might avoid what they do not understand. However, we can learn from our young(er) professional friends and even children. Let’s admit they have mastered the most efficient and direct forms of communication. Those who will be most successful navigating this territory are the ones who understand clearly the generational differences, usages and opportunities.

Irfan Ahmad wrote in his Social Media Today post that content media marketing is important and understanding the generations is essential. He shares important takeaways:

  • Late evenings, between 8 to 11:59 pm is when most people consume content. This makes the best time to post.
  • Millennials (born from 1980 – 1997) use their mobile devices a lot, so be sure to optimize for mobile.
  • 300 words is the ideal length for any article.
  • Generation X (born 1965-80) primarily uses Twitter, while the Baby Boomers (1946-64) turn to Google+.
  • Millennials prefer sharing memes, Generation X likes slide shares and my generation, Baby Boomers still turn to sharing images and videos the most.

Baby Boomers spend more time than any other generation on content, averaging 20+ hours a week engaged online. Laptops still reign as the device most used to review online content, with millennials favoring mobile devices more than other generations. The most consumed content for all generations remains the blog. Around 60% of all generations still prefer Facebook as their primary form of social media communication to share content. Generation X turns to Twitter as their favored content sharing platform.

Right now, I know enough to be slightly intelligent when discussing the various platforms, but I know there is so much more to learn. I’m determined. As I grow in my expertise, I will share through this blog in hopes that anyone intimidated by social media might choose to get on board too.

For more information, check out: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/2015-05-11/generational-content-gap-how-different-generations-consume-content-online.

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