Social Media Is Not A Generational Thing

Image by net_efekt

Image by net_efekt

Today on the HubSpot blog I’m attacking one of my (least) favorite internet memes — that social media is somehow a generational thing, that “kids these days” are somehow wired differently, and that boomers and other, older generations either (a) aren’t using these tools, or (b) don’t or can’t “get it.”

Horse hockey, I say.

Read the whole post, Are You Too Old For Social Media.

A related concept that has also always irked me is the concept of the “digital native.” As if the year of your birth somehow confers special skills and aptitudes on a person.

Please.

You know what confers skill and aptitude? Practice does, for starters. Diligent, sustained effort works, too.

Ever wonder why “kids these days” are such “naturals” at all things internet? It’s because they’ve had all this free time in their youth to practice. It’s all about time spent learning, not time spent on this planet.

I am far more of a “digital native” than many a Gen Y-er, despite my 1971 birthdate, simply because I have spent many hours over the years learning and practicing, messing about and getting my arms dirty up to my elbows in this stuff.

The good news is this:

You are not disqualified from any of this because of your date of birth.

If you want to recuse yourself from the investment of work and time involved in learning a new skill, that’s totally fine — it’s entirely up to you. But please stop leaning on this particular excuse to do so.

It’s just another new skill to be acquired, and like any new skill, requires practice, discipline, and sustained effort.

Does that sound like a young person’s game to you?

2 Thoughts.

  1. I hope that I never reach the point where I think that I know everything that I need to know. People at any age may put themselves into a box and self limit themselves, not only from accomplishment, but also from experience and enjoyment. Curiosity and willingness to try are two very cool attributes to have.

  2. As a firm believer in ‘you’re never too old’ I have reviewed my own notes as an EFL teacher trainer in hopes of finding some tips for learning to swim in the social media pool, despite my 1958 birthday. I found that I am 40 years too old to learn a new language and it’s not because I don’t give it my best, it may actually be a chemical problem. Hormones are the culprit once again!
    Not happy with this discovery, I turned to my notes on learning styles and multiple intelligences. I have to admit that as a kinesthetic, I can’t throw or catch a ball to same my life, ping pong is out, so is basketball and don’t even mention volleyball, but give me a distance and I’ll run it; a wave and I’ll surf it, a slope and I’ll ski it. I guess it’s the hand-eye coordination that auditory-kinesthetics just don’t get. That’s why I’m so bad at video/computer/Wii/PSP games.
    One more comment and I’ll leave the stand. The good ole days of ‘eyeyousta’ (read: I used to). I used to walk around the office to get papers, files, make copies, pick up stuff at the printer. Now I sit and call everything up on my screen, from the comfort of my own desk. I used to walk down to the library to check out books. Now I get them delivered right to my inbox, don’t even have to get out of my chair. I used to cruise down the boulevard sidewalk with my buds, now we all sit in our chairs and meet on Facebook. We even have happy hour on Facebook, sitting in front of our screens. We are all getting very flat fannies and it isn’t because we were born in 1958! (I think…)
    Peace & Love

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