On Beating Versus Joining

01Dec08

My mom has a facebook account.  I’m connected on LinkedIn with former bosses and current professors.  My grandma reads my blog (hi Gram!) and my 11-year-old brother has his own website on kid-friendly piczo.com.

They call it social media for a reason.

A Gen X friend of mine recently joined Facebook and had a few less than glowing sentiments about its usage.  “I just don’t get it,” he said.  “What’s with that status thing – I don’t care what other people are doing!”  My gut instinct as a born (literally) and bred Gen Yer is to plant hands on hips, slip in my earbuds, and deride the fact that, “You just don’t get it.”

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Maybe it simply comes down to the fact that I’m engaged in social media and my friend isn’t.  But is there more to understand in this exchange than just a simple gap in lifestyle choices?  For many Gen X and Yers, social media is an extension of the way we live.  Updating and checking Facebook statuses is as pervasive in my daily life as reading the newspaper or checking the weather report.  I don’t make a conscious decision to care what a particular friend is up to or whether he or she has posted any interesting links lately – the power of the Internet brings updates right to my brain space without having to walk outside in the cold to get the paper.

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A recent poll of my 60-person marketing class revealed that I was the only person in the room currently engaged on Twitter.  If you’re engaged in social media*, you know how steep the learning curve is.  From Twitter blogs to Facebook chat, new ideas are cropping up and maturing faster than ever, making it all the more difficult to jump the distance that divides a social media user and a social media diffuser.

Being able to use specific tools – tapping into a TweetFeed or doing a mobile Facebook status update – isn’t the root of the problem.  It’s a way of being, a way of seeing the world through a social and technological lens that requires acclimation, no matter what the generational statuses involved.

Generation X&Y is…updating its perceptions.

*The catch 22 here is of course that if you’re reading this, you’re either engaged in social media or have been guilted by me into reading my blog.  The former understands the point I’m about to make without me saying it and the latter supports me no matter how outlandish my claims are, so it’s just a win-win all around.

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2 Responses to “On Beating Versus Joining”

  1. I’ve found that post-college graduation, Twitter has become increasingly relevant while Facebook has become increasingly irrelevant. I really only use it now to look up contact info and maybe an occasional status update, rather than stalk anyone and everyone in an effort to procrastinate on homework.

  2. I made one Twitter update, over a year ago, and haven’t touched it since. For that entire year, all the world has known of trumancapps is “I’m about to go to marching band.” And yet, for some reason, three new people have begun to “follow” me in the past three months.

    So Generation Y is hopeful, at least. Hopeful that I’ll send a text and let them know what I’m up to.


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