Is Social Networking Slowing Down the Generational Lines of Communication?
By Nick Stamoulis
Lately it seems like the social communication behavior and methods people use to interact are more like tangled-up power lines. Years ago there were traditionally only a small handful of ways to communicate; at work, phone, fax and face-to-face. For the last ten years or so many generations have been able to adopt email as a crucial form of communication, but now there are many newer social networking methods of communication between consumers, businesses, friends and families.
How many people do you know across different generations that actually have Facebook accounts? The numbers are staggering, but to a marketer and business owner it is crucial to understand that one size does not fit all. Even though these generations tend to actively use social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn they are still VERY different overall in the way they communicate.
Let’s start by discussing the three vastly different generations, GEN Y, GEN X and Baby Boomers. All three have very different styles of communication they prefer. Baby boomers generally rely on face-to-face and phone communication. GEN X use email, cell phones and some instant messaging (IM), and GEN Y like to text and IM primarily. These three communication differences create serious ripples in the lines of communication for many businesses and social marketers alike.
The March 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine has an excellent overview of this social generation communication broken down:
Many people complain that they just can’t keep up with the evolution of technology and how quickly things are moving. All three generations use all forms of social interaction and social online networking but the way the three interact on these sites is very different.
Many baby boomers will launch a Facebook page or Myspace profile but the way each use them is fundamentally different. Many GEN Y’ers will use the online social networks to conduct all their social interaction with other peers while a 55 year old baby boomer might launch a profile and visit it once every 6 months, often times not even having an uploaded photo in the profile.
Many new technologies are adopted by GEN Y’ers very quickly leaving many baby boomers scratching their heads trying to figure out just what is the best way to reach out to this generation that sometimes feels out of reach. One generation will reach out to someone through Facebook and the other with a phone. The rapid pace of social online marketing evolvement unfortunately leaves baby boomers in the dust sometimes.
Years ago, when the baby boomer generation was 25, technological advancements occurred at a snail’s pace. Today it is quite the opposite leaving it challenging for some generations to keep up with the rate of social networking communication growth.
About Nick Stamoulis