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the great divide…

Today in class we touched on something again that we’ve talked about a lot – the great divide between the generations and their social media usage. I think it was Dee who mentioned that her group was finding it difficult to engage two generations of PR practitioners, and DeNel countered that by saying that there are a lot of ‘older’ people using these tools and there’s just the perception that they’re not.

My thoughts on this are that social media usage has become just one of those things that people have preconceived perceptions about, that may not even be true. Another example of this (which has been discussed in our PR & Gender class) is the idea of ‘bra burning feminists.’ In reality no one ever burned bras; it just became this idea that was naturalized into the history of feminism.

How does this relate to social media usage across generations? Well, I feel like the idea that older generations are not accepting of social media has transferred from just an ‘idea’ to people’s attitudes and expectations. Maybe the reason people are so hesitant to accept social media is because they are expected not to. In the same way that I feel I HAVE to understand it because of my age…

Does this make sense?

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions??

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June 10, 2009 - Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Yes it makes sense! I feel the same way at times. Although I have an interest in learning more about social media and find it fascinating, I find that at times it becomes more of a task than an adventure. I feel that if I am not up-to-date on Social Media tools, I am going to be at a disadvantage considering employers often assume we are the “expert”.

    On that note, I do feel the stereotype has become the norm. Assuming that just because you are in your early 20s you should know everything about social media is creating an even greater generation gap. By imposing assumptions like that, people simply fall into their specific roles. So is social media making it even more difficult for the youth overcome the generation gap?

    I believe it is creating more of a divide. From my experience working on a board of directors composed of youth and adults, I felt the adults were scared at times to even try the social media. They much rather have paper copies, face to face and telephone. I mean even email was at times overwhelming for them. This created in sense a greater divide because the youth kept in constant communications on Facebook and other social media tools. Eventually the adults joined in. It just took them a little bit longer.

    Comment by eskimeau | June 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. I definitely agree. I think that one thing that makes social media attractive to the younger generation is that they are more comfortable navigating the technology but I believe the older generation would have just as much fun with the tools if they became comfortable using them.
    It also comes down to a personality. Some people have personalities in which they want to know what is going on in other people’s lives and love sharing information about themselves. Others however do not like talking about themselves and care very little what is happening with others. Social media tool give people who enjoy sharing information the tool to do so in real time.

    Comment by bethanyeyking | June 11, 2009 | Reply


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