Baby Boomers in Millennial Space: 5 Reasons for Boomers to Adopt Social Media and What You Need to Know

Baby Boomers in Millennial Space:  5 Reasons for Boomers to Adopt Social Media and What You Need to Know | Path of Presence Evelyn Foreman

Posting on social media platforms requires courage, regardless if it is through a personal account or a business account.

Many people say driving is a reflection of your personality. Posting on social media is also like driving in that how you post and what you post on social media is a reflection of your attitudes, behavior and action:  your personality.

Open up your Facebook and you will see the gamut of what I mean. You will have friends that post what seems to be every minute of every day; every account of their life. They process what is happening to them in a very public way, sharing emotions, pet peeves, quirks, irritations as well as celebrations.  

And still, others are completely opposite, that seem to never post at all. They are voyeurs, spying on their children, friends, and family. Never making a comment or engaging on any posts.

So before I go any further I want to make mention these are simply observations. There is no good or bad associated with this behavior, it simply is.

The purpose of this post is to bring awareness of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, of how we show up in the space of social media.  After all, if we do not know what our patterning is, there is no hope for progression.

Reason #1:  Community

What you need to know about social media and community

Social media is a community platform. Just as you make a decision of how you show up in the community, social media is extension of your presence online.

Some people have decidedly made a conscious choice to not be seen or heard on any platform. They are simply there, reluctantly to participate and engage in online conversations.  

They are simply online, on social media because of peer pressure. Perhaps a group that they are involved in requires a Facebook account as that is the channel of how the group communicates. Maybe they are grandparents and the only way to keep up with the activities of their children and grandchildren is to be on Facebook. Still there other reluctant people who are on Facebook simply because they have received so many friend requests that they are tired of explaining why they do not have a Facebook.  

This is not unlike the person who is pressured into physically attending a function or event that he or she does not want to go to.  They might physically be there, however, they are mentally and emotionally unavailable. They are not attending the function out of their own volition, but rather through obligation.

Others who have wholeheartedly embrace social media may have different behaviors on the opposite end of the scale. 

I have friends who process their entire experience of life in social media.  In an effort to share their lives openly, every beat of what is happening in their life is made known.

Still, others who visit Facebook once a day, or once every other day, and do the “catch up” thing.  If you’re friends with them you may see on your feed upwards of 20 (or more) posts at one time, usually about issues and items they are passionate about.

Can you pick out some friends on your Facebook feed that may exhibit some of those behaviors?

Before we start making judgment calls of what is irritating about our friends on Facebook, realize that social posting is a reflection of personality.  Just like driving, the way a person post on social media is a reflection of personality.  

For the most part, unless an intentional and mindful decision is made, the way you show up on Facebook is the way you show up in your social circles. Yup, let your behavior on social media be an informant of your attitudes in real life!

Especially in the early days of social media, most of us who are 50 + years or older may consider social platforms as a passing fancy. After all, those who are half a century old have lived through many many things: 5 decades of immense change and transition.  Think about the decades that have passed.  Just to name a few, on a national level, Thea good folks have lived through the 60s and 70s hippie movement, the wars, the boom and the crashes, Y2K, solar paneling, the information and technology ages and now — social media.

On a personal level, those who are 50 years or older have gone through many stages of life and massive changes as they prepare to enter (or already into) retirement.  These amazing folks are the new recruits, a generation of our elders ready to experience life on a whole different level. 

Learning how to communicate on a social platform, however critical it is, for maybe the last thing on their minds.

Still, I am impressed and delighted about the statistics that I have seen about those who are over 50 participating in social media.

The evidence shows that over 60% of online users over 65 use Facebook.  In just one year, from 2015 to 2016, the number of online adults increased 50%, with 60% of online adults 65 years and older in active use.

This level of enthusiasm says a lot about baby boomers and for one, I am grateful for this “yes, we can!!” attitude.

Reason #2:  A New Normal 

What you need to know about social media and behavior

There is no Emily Post for social media. Part of this radical new way to communicate - to enable people to be themselves authentically, with no holds bar, and a freedom of expression never before allowed on a public scale, requires baby boomers to stretch and flex in ways that were never possible - until now. 

Not only are boomers asked to learn an entirely new norm on cyberspace, they are asked to stretch beyond what is acceptable from their childhood upbringing.  For those of us who were brought up in the previous generation of “sit down and shut up” we are now asked to “get up and speak up.”  

I don’t know about you, but I believe that these 2 behaviors are diametrically opposite.  Those who are even willing to adopt social media and consider a new normal on cyberspace deserves kudos for innovation and dynamic transformation.

Reason #3:  Responsiveness 

What you need to know about social media and timeliness

One of the biggest things about social media is the ability to be responsive in real time.  If someone were to come up to you and ask you a question, wouldn’t you answer the question?  

If someone were to share their day with you, wouldn’t you have some sort of a response?   

If you are a normal human being, your answer to those questions would be a yes.

The problem, then, lies not in the question of a post, but rather whether it applies to you.  

There is no requirement to respond to a post on social media. Especially if you are questioning whether the post applies to you there’s no need to respond just to respond. 

However, if you are looking to bridge a connection with the other person posting on social media, an opportunity exists.

This opportunity takes us to the idea of engagement.

Reason #4:  Engagement 

What you need to know about social media and active participation

Engagement is a buzzword on social media. Simply put, to be engaged in social media means to be responsive and present. When someone creates a post on their platform, perhaps asking a question, it would be a wonderful thing for you to reply with an answer to that post. 

The platform of social media is meant to communicate and bridge conversations.  Many of us know that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, created his platform as a way to network with friends on college campuses.  Fast forward to modern day, and we have the means to communicate and network with those who are friends of friends, which may not necessarily be people we have already met in person.

Reason #5:  Mindset

What you need to know about social media and your stubborn old mind

If you have been reluctant to engage in social media, perhaps a change in perspective might help you in your progress to connect with others.

Be honest with yourself. 

If any ounce within you is chanting, “I don’t know about that!”  You May be a great candidate to consider a mindset change.  Changing your perspective and attitude about social media can do wonders to bridge your existence with the norm of our brave new world.

Change happens from the inside out. Until you change your attitude about the medium of social media, and until you choose how you will show up and be present in this community, you will always be struggling.

Your choice is to forget about social media altogether.  You may choose to walk away from the opportunity of participating in a medium that can bridge your connection with your community and other generations. Or you may choose to gain perspective and Insight, and learn a way to become part of modern day society.

For those of us who would like to cultivate a greater freedom, both in personal and professional interactions (and particularly those of us who want to build a business online), social media offers and opens opportunities for collaborations that enable possibilities beyond your wildest imagination.

Which of the 5 noted reasons: (1) Community, (2) Social media norm (3) Responsiveness (4) Engagement) or (5) Mindset, speak most loudly to you?