One of the more interesting discussions at SxSW resulted from an audience question at the Real-Time Marketing Panel featuring Siobhan Quinn, product manager for Foursquare, Angela LoSassa, director of social media for RIM and Adam Lavelle, chief strategy officer at icrossing. The question, asked of the three panelists, was whether social media, which is great for the 20-35-year-old user, had staying power for those that were aging out and having to deal with “real life” kicking in.
All three of the panelists noted that social media use was growing by leaps and bounds among over 35s. Lavelle posited that when you’ve been using social media for five years and it’s an ingrained part of your life, you will still be using it even if you’re living in the ‘burbs with a spouse and two kids. Of course, by that time there will be something new for the 20-year-olds.
The whole notion of age and social media use really resonated with me. I’m over 40, real-life has long ago kicked in and I’m certainly not a social media novice. Among my friends I was one of the first on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. And then there’s also my blog (mommylens.com).
That said, I agree with the guy who asked the original question – it’s sometimes hard to find time to keep up with all my social channels and I’m sure I spend less time on them than my 20-something counterparts. I also probably use them differently than those who are half my age and that’s ok too. After a few days at SxSW, trying to juggle listening to panels, taking notes, tweeting, checkins and blogging, my head was more than ready to explode. This does not appear to be an affliction that impacts the young.
The real challenge for those of us over 40 is whether our social media channels drive us to distraction and prevent us from connecting live in real time. Kids who are growing up with social media may have this down pat, but it’s certainly more of challenge for my generation.
In one of my earlier blog posts I shared my three guiding words (release, present, laugh) for 2011. In order for me to truly be present there will be times that I will need to bite the bullet and put the digital devices down. What about you?