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.