Baby-boomers considered social media to be a tool for the younger generation. After all, didn’t they already have a hard time keeping up with the activities of their existing friends and family?
By: Natasha Morgan
The internet was always thought to be the exclusive domain of the young. Then, the older age groups discovered that e-mailing family and friends was easier and more cost effective than sending a fax or using “snail mail”.
While several years passed, Boomers began exploring the various “Search” options on the net and learned that nearly anything they wanted to know was available on some website or another.
Then came Social Media. Once again, the older group considered it to be a tool for the younger generation. After all, didn’t they already have a hard time keeping up with the activities of their existing friends and family?
Sites like FaceBook and MySpace began appearing in news headlines pointing out potential dangers when teen-agers had unsupervised access to the internet. That caught the attention of the parents who began signing up to the Social networking sites in record numbers. They wanted to know what their kids were posting for the world to see.
As they were keeping an eye on their kids, the Boomers discovered other like-minded people on the sites and began “friending” each other. Some sought advice while others shared experiences. Raising teen-agers was a daunting task and knowing you were not alone and didn’t have all the answers, fuelled these relationships.
Raising children was not the only issue the Boomers were experiencing. Many had aging parents, health issues, financial or career difficulties. Finding other Boomers with whom to share the burden, made coping a little easier. Some of these “friends” who had never met face to face became real friends over time. Some of them eventually ended up meeting and continuing the relationship for years.
Although privacy was always held dear to most people brought up before the 70’s, this new style networking is quickly catching on. Women in particular enjoy the connections they establish with other women. They don’t necessarily develop the same inter-action with their family or existing friends because their interests might differ. As Baby-Boomer women age, they tend to have more time to pursue hobbies that eluded them during their child rearing years. Social networking helps them discover new interests or take up those left behind before life became too busy.
Fast forward another ten years; will Social Media still be popular? If so, you can count on new versions of computers, notebooks, iphones and blackberries flooding the market. Millions of Baby-Boomers will have given a new meaning to the word “friend”.
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Photo:Â Matt Hamm