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Social Media and Ageism


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My article is about how I have seen social media has used age as a factor in understand social media.

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Social Media and Ageism

  1. 1. Social Media and Ageismby: Howard LeeCIOWirehead TechnologyWhile social media is being used in business and doing quite well, Id recently found that ithas revealed how we look at age in understanding its usage.Id met up with a group of small business owners at a community mixer. While we weretalking, the subject had come up. Id told them that my business was using social media siteslike Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc. to attract new customers. Theyd asked meabout my business and also who had done my social media network for me. After Idanswered that Id done it all myself, theyd become quite shocked and surprised. One manhad said that hed thought that Id hired some young people to do my network and also that itis only they who can understand how social media works. Id said to him that this is not trueand anyone can learn how to use it for his or her business.Here is where ageism comes into play in social media and business. Many business ownersfeel that only young people ages 18 to early 30s can create social media networks for theirbusinesses. So they hire these young people with the hope that they would get better results.Unfortunately, they create these networks only to look good for people mainly in their own agegroup. The business owners would unhappily find out that their business needs are not beingfulfilled because their networks are not attracting enough new and appropriate customers.Business owners, regardless of age, must understand that its not about how many likesthey may have on Facebook or followers they may have on Twitter. They need to turn themall into business customers. This can and should be done only by people who trulyunderstand social media and business and more importantly getting their messages andbrands into the minds of the public. Neither time nor money should ever be wasted.To illustrate my point, recently Id read an article online written by a 26 year-old woman whohad stated that if a business wanted to get into social media it should not hire anyone over 30years old since a person that old could not do a good job. After thinking about how arroganther statement was, Id commented that I was using social media for business for ten yearsstarting with Linkedin and am currently using social media tools like Facebook and Twittersince 2007. I truly hope she will rethink about her statement about social media and age andalso change her attitude.Another example: Id gotten a call from a company telling me that my business could notreally grow without social media and how I would be losing out if I dont use them to create mysocial media network. This young salesman probably in his mid 20s was talking about hisexperience in social media and why it is something I could not understand without his expertguidance. After about ten minutes of this, Id asked him long he has been using social mediain business. He answered three years. Thats when Id told him that Id been working withsocial media for ten years. He was quite surprised to hear that. Then I went on to tell him thatI was also working with companies since 2007 to put them on MySpace and YouTube toincrease their businesses and had taught at a seminar on social media and mobility inbusiness in 2010 at Illinois Institute of Technology here in Chicago and one of the guests was 1
  2. 2. Luke Shepard from Facebook. Then Id told him that he obviously didnt look at my businessbecause if he did he would have seen very clearly that we are very social media connectedand could probably teach him a thing or two about using it. Towards the end of the sales call,hed asked me if Id like to talk to their business development director about possiblypartnering on future projects. Id told him that he could pass on my info and I would take hiscall if he think we could possibly work together. I had not heard back from them since.The aforementioned stories are just two of many similar stories I would hear from other olderbusiness owners who would get calls many times from younger so-called experts like thatsalesman who would talk down to them about social media as if they are just too old tounderstand social media. The results are that most owners feel insulted by these helpers.This may be why business owners dont take social media seriously because they themselveshavent been taken seriously. The solution to all of this is that younger social mediacompanies should make sure that they truly understand that older business owners reallywant their experiences to be accounted for while talking with them. And more importantly, theyshould not treat the owners as if theyre out of touch and explain to them in plain English howsocial media can help their businesses. And also, just like traditional forms of advertising,social media can get their messages and brands across to attract new customers.Im happy to say that I have found that older business owners have responded very favorablyto using social media when it is shown clearly as something that can truly help theirbusinesses. Its just like in the early 2000s when business owners didnt think that websitescould help their businesses. Now almost every business, large and small, has some type ofonline presence. Social media is now another means of getting businesses even better onlinepresence.Oh, in case you were wondering what my age is and why I wrote this article, I will proudly saythat I am 58 years old and all this needs to be told and hopefully understood.Follow Wirehead at:Contact Us:Email: wireheadtec@gmail.comWeb: 2