Social Media definition from Wikipedia: Social media supports the human need for social interaction with technology, transforming broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.
Kelly: Wow! That’s a mouthful and a half, isn’t it, Sally? Remember how much we didn’t know two years ago about blogging, much less, social media? Why, we thought that social media was sitting together on the couch socially sharing our martinis while we watched Dexter.
And now, “social media dialogues” are much more than chit-chatting at a cocktail party about how incredibly hard it is to serve as live-in caregivers for our Ancient One. That conversation can be very one-sided, depending on the age of the group. It can clear the corner of a room, leaving you and me alone with our canapés faster than we could say, “Wait a minute! Don’t go. We’ll talk about something else!” But, when we’re having the care-giving conversation with other mostly anonymous boomer women on the Internet who find themselves in the same predicament, it’s Katy bar the door, and our group begins to grow in number there in the corner of our new ‘cyber’ room.
Women who were silently screaming into their pillows in the pantry because they were too afraid to say what they were really thinking are now OUT.
Sally: And, see Kelly, that’s what I like about the internet. You can Google “Bby Boomer care-giving-statistics”and come up with all kinds of information that in the old days you had to get from pamphlets on the wall at the free clinic. These days you can chat with someone in a non-existent room with another boomer caregiver while nuking your Ancient One a chicken-pot-pie and putting her entire collection of ceramic frogs on EBay.
The information available to us through social networking is amazing and scary. There are 77 million baby boomers, and 53 million of those will probably be caring for their seventy to eighty-year-old parents. There are 40 million senior citizens now (people over sixty-five), and in the next thirty years that number will double to 80 million as Baby boomers and their parents reach sixty-five. So that means that in thirty years, there will be about 200 million older people. Oh, it’s out of control. There’s only one way to try to communicate with all of this multiplying, wrinkled, aging mass of humanity. Blog your guts out or become a regular contributor to IamOld.com. There will be plenty of people who will read that and then comment back to you with that same comment posted on FaceBook, Twitter, and AncientOnesFightBack.net. Those will be some huge rooms that marketers may want to think about entering.
Kelly: Yeah, remember when marketers held their “focus group” product reviews and feedback forums in locked, windowless rooms for fear that too much honesty might not be a good thing for their particular product? They were in control. What was said in those rooms stayed in those rooms. Corporations then went about their same merry ways of manufacturing, marketing and selling their products to consumers who might have met their statistical research but never had a voice. In the words of the great Carole King song:
“Well, it’s too late baby, now it’s too late.
Though we really did try to make it.
Something inside has died,
And I can’t hide, and I just can’t fake it.”
Social media sites have exploded with women finally having a say, whether it be a rant, a rave, a comment about how dreamy Harrison Ford still is, an honest product review or a searing political comment on health care reform, we are showing the way forward. We can now talk back to the newscasters, the gossip columnists and those running for office. Oh, and we don’t have to buy cosmetics for wrinkles that are being shoved onto our middle-aged faces by twenty-somethings with nary a crows-foot in sight! Social media dialogues, baby … many to many!
Sally: We are now “content producers.” Our content is humor, and I take that seriously. I don’t want to be screaming “fuck, fuck, fuck!” into my pillow in the pantry before finishing my eighth vodka-and-ice so that I can face clipping my ancient mother’s toenails. I would rather go to More Magazine online, “O”, Growing Bolder, WomenBloom, or any other boomer site to connect with others in my same situation. Rather than feel like I’m standing all alone on a mountain in the Himalayas, I can blog-vent to my little heart’s desire. Marketers may do well to read our blogs. We boomers are growing in numbers like rabbits in west Texas, and we have found out that social media is the way to go. “Many to many” right back atcha, and then eventually right out to 200 million older people looking for connections to any others who have changed the cases on their pillows, now using them for back-supports while surfing the Internet for the best denture cleaner, the newest digital hearing aids and anything that will make them laugh.
Welcome to the coming world folks; it’s in the works whether you like it or not. Don’t worry … we’re mostly old hippies, and it’ll be fun.
Originally published on TheMidLifeGals