My 85 year-old mother is visiting with us this week. I invited her to come to "work" with me yesterday. Not only was she thrilled that I asked her, the day was full of surprises.
My "job" on Tuesday took me to the SBDC at Salisbury University (MD) where I was leading two seminars: 'I'm on Linkedin, What do I do next?' and 'I'm on Twitter, What do I do next?' That was the first surprise – how many 85 year olds are interested in learning about social media?
We had a near full classroom for both sessions. I expected a mix of attendees in their 30s, 40s and 50s looking for ways to grow their business. That was my surprise #2: the student demographics weren't at all what I expected.
At 85 years old, I fully expected my mother would surely be the oldest participant. Boy, was I ever surprised! Non-traditional and older students took on a whole new meaning yesterday. One gentleman was my mother's peer at the ripe young age of 85 too! Another was in his 70s and two were in their 60s. This gray-haired set was not only interested in using Linkedin, Twitter (and Facebook) but they drove the discussion. Ironically they sharply criticized a few negative comments by two younger participants who seemed more set on debunking social media than engaging it.
The world is changing and the change is happening fast. Technology isn't just for the chronologically young anymore. The young at heart are illuminating the twilight years. Retirement for these folks isn't about slowing down but about keeping active and alert. Four members of the 60+ club were starting new businesses, including the 70 and 80 year olds. What fun! For them life isn't about reminiscing but keeping current. I can't wait until the baby boomer wave hits full stride.
You can learn more about who is using technology and social media in our just released Geeks, Geezers, and Social Media survey report. It's free for download at Geeks and Geezers Survey.
Hmmm. Where did I mention “back in her day” or any reference to our standard of living going backwards? I thought I was pretty clear – my mother isn’t living in the past at all. She along with the other 60+ year olds were quite open and engaged to new technologies. It was the 35 to 45 year olds in the class that were blowing off an relevance or significance to social networking.
What was the point of typing that? Who cares about back in her day?
Oh..you’re suggesting that our standard of living in the West is going backwards…right. Ok. I feel slightly less stupid for reading part of this entry after decoding its subliminal message.