I thought I was comfortable with Facebook. I enjoy social media and use it extensively to catch up with friends. As someone running a media agency it is an invaluable channel that has become part of most clients’ media strategy. Then I was thrown a curve ball – a friend request from my father (he is 80, by the way).
What is he doing on Facebook? Who else is he befriending? How long before I see baby pics of me in the bath pop up on my timeline? I couldn’t have been more surprised if he told me he’d taken up skateboarding. Surely Facebook is for a new generation of connecteds? When he starts hashtagging I’m sure the world will end…
In fact the world has changed – nothing is normal anymore. Digital and social are the catalysts for some of the biggest changes ever.
How quickly we evolve from our parents using WhatsApp to them liking and interacting on a social platform. Actually it’s not unexpected. The fact is that the connecteds of today, me included, will be living their lives comfortably assisted by digital for as long as they are around. Digital and social media adoption often happens with the cutting edge of early adopters that see potential. It is an attitude built on curiosity and the need to stay relevant while maximising the advantages that new tech brings.
I guess my father was doing just that; he has worked out that social media is fabulous at shortening distances. It also gives him all the updates he can handle on the extended family. He is on it for the same reason I am on it – to stay connected, document and stay current with anyone at any time. Additionally he is able to share the highlights in his life with others. Not too long ago we were all left waiting for the post to arrive, or not.
Facebook and other real-time social platforms are the ‘traditional media’ of the future. Facebook seems like a natural entry point for seniors to engage with social media than the likes of Twitter or Instagram. As the current user base gets older the average age will increase (Currently the average age is 33, and 63 for over 50s.) This is compounded by the fact that the ‘late majority’ have also decided to give social media a go because without it they are increasingly left out.
What does this mean for marketers? I think it’s fantastic – more people, more connected, more measurable and less wastage through targeted advertising.
The next thing I quite quickly wondered is, “What are they engaging with besides the obvious?”
Seems the top 10 in terms of ‘likes’ are an interesting mix ranging from local artists such as Steve Hofmeyr, Juanita du Plessis and would you believe, Carike Keuzenkamp. Then a host of retailers and brands – Spar, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Mango, Huisgenoot and Whats for Dinner? and Cruisabout SA. Not sure I would have put money on that list. Interestingly enough the affinity is highest when they engage with their local artist or celeb of choice.
They don’t always know the rules. They don’t get the jargon. They sometimes find it hard to tag you in a post or see no distinction between writing on your wall and sending you a message. Same thing right? They are the ‘newborns’ on Facebook and social media – learning, engaging and here to stay.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.