Yesterday, on my drive home from Electrum Marketing, I listened to a marketing podcast featuring an interview with a social media consultant and was absolutely dumbfounded by what I heard. When asked his opinion of where businesses should invest their marketing efforts, of course he said “online” and then he added…wait for it… “unless your target market is older.”
Ugh! Where does this guy live? On the corner of Dated Sterotypes and Completely Out of Touch? He’s supposedly a social media consultant and he doesn’t realize that in November 2009, almost 8 million Facebook members were 65 years old or older. I guess that’s why he’s a consultant and not a specialist.
Perhaps his grandmother resembles Whistler’s mother and sits in a rocker staring at the wall. Maybe his grandfather says “dagnabbit” and skips rocks on the lake for fun. But that’s not the case in my family where the seniors are more than capable of navigating the internet.
My mother, a very attractive 70-year-old, has done her share of online dating. While it doesn’t thrill me to have her talking to strangers online, I did get a chuckle when she realized that a gentleman with the screen name LIKESKINKYLADIES actually liked Kinky Ladies and not Skinny Ladies. Note to self: increase her monitor’s font size the next time I visit.
My father-in-law recently stayed with us for an extended period. He has no phone. He Skypes. For those who don’t know, Skype is software that allows you to make calls from your computer. With his laptop and webcam, he placed Jetson-era video calls to his peers throughout the world. FYI, not one of his friends wondered how my father-in-law got into their computer.
My family members are just a small percentage of the 17.5 million active online seniors. They send me gifts purchased on eBay, share photos on Kodak Gallery, email links to YouTube videos, and last but not least friend requests on Facebook (yikes).
My point is this. The time you spend online has less to do with your age than it does with where you spend your time. I have young friends whose careers do not place them at a desk all day. They are the worst Facebook friends ever…unless they are still wrapping Christmas presents as their last status update says. They rarely email. Instead they send five-paragraph texts. Am I supposed to reply to that? Via text?!
Meanwhile, Mom continued to send that Facebook friend request every day. As I reluctantly hit ACCEPT, I wondered if some senior could show me how to update my privacy settings.