I have taken the opportunity to sit down with my aunt, Sharon Webster, age 62, member of the Baby Boomers generation. She is a pastor’s wife and also substitute teaches in a public school. She is tech savvy to a point. She uses the Internet to communicate through email, facebook, and sometimes to look up products or services. Facebook is the only SM platform that she is familiar with, and she uses it to stay connected with family and friends. She does use her phone to communicate with facebook, email, and texting. Sharon does not think that email, facebook, or texting is a better way to communicate than snail mail and face-to-face communication.
I am a supposedly very tech savvy person, yet I do not maintain all of my Social Media sites regularly. Maybe after I am finished with my master’s degree, I will have plenty of time to keep all of my sites updated on a regular basis. I am confident that both Sharon and I do not make the best out of our opportunities to be able to build relationships through Social Media. I think that even my generation, Generation X, could use a little boost into new thinking ever once in awhile.
While interviewing Sharon, I realized our vast differing views on Social Media. I view it as a tool to get what I want from who I want, for example, I love to use coupons; so I “like” all of the coupon fan pages that I come across. This enables me to get what I want. And the coupon page owners get “likes”. And the companies get me to purchase their products. Sharon, on the other hand, does not use SM for anything other than communicating with her friends and family to exchange limited comments and look at abundances of pictures. Social media, to her, is just that … for socializing. To her it is not a tool that can be used to mass-market products and services to create business and patronage.
While following this path of seeking out other generation’s views on social media, I stumbled across the continuous use of social media by all of the teenagers that I am surrounded by through family, friends, and work. I am amazed at the way that teens look at social media and how it is just a fiber of life for them. I hear, “Can I get on facebook?” way more times than I care to admit. But, each time I see the way it builds relationships for my kids; I could not possibly deny them the pleasures that I, also, so often seek!
When companies are trying to reach all of these generations, it may prove to be difficult due to the different interactions that multiple generations have with social media. Baby boomers may not have instant tweets that inform them of the sale at the local department store, so they may not show up for the sale. While Generation Y is there when the door opens and he/she has re-tweeted the sale information to all of their 100s of followers! This may play a vital role in whether or not the company chooses to use social media to advertise products or services. Who is buying the product? Where is it being sold? Can it be bought online? All of these questions and more need to be asked and answered to have an effective social media campaign.