Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals
Blog Categories (aka Tags) Archive of Traffick Articles Our Internet Marketing Consulting Services Contact the Traffickers Traffick RSS Feed

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gen-X'ers Bowling Alone?

When MySpace and Facebook started taking off, it was common knowledge that online social networking was a frivolous young person's activity.

But as the technologies and audiences evolved, the stereotype melted away entirely. We got used to thinking of non-adopters as strangely stubborn or churlish. People of all ages, it seemed, were equally likely to have a large friend list. Social media accounts were becoming like a cellphone - yes, teenage girls still ran up ridiculously high bills and/or exposed themselves to brain cancer - but everyone was getting on board, in a general sense.

Whoops, not quite. A new demographic study of social media shows that across all the social networks -- even on LinkedIn -- the number of people with accounts drops sharply when you hit the 35-44 demographic. The number of women using LinkedIn, almost equal to men in the 25-34, drops particularly sharply in the next age bracket.

If adoption patterns don't change, this only sorts itself out eventually over time - a very long, slow time - in the sense that those early-30-somethings will eventually be 40-something. But it points to a potentially big problem on an individual career level for many Gen-Xers and boomers, groups that have long thought of themselves as connected, hip, and in control of their destinies.

Interpretation 1: Exchanging monkey doodles with acquaintances falls into "Level 4 activity" as defined by Stephen Covey. Neither urgent nor important, it's a pure distraction and subtracts time spent working, and isn't even real leisure. Gen X figured this out long ago and are busy beavers avoiding distractions. There is a lot of merit in this interpretation, I think. 13-24's have lots of time to waste which explains their chatting behavior; 25-34's still haven't outgrown their youthful habits. On that interpretation, Facebook is like XBox. Or going to a lot of "stags" and "stagettes." *Not* doing something isn't proof you aren't savvy; it means you no longer need all these distractions as a crutch. You have a "life" - a busy job, a family, and active leisure pursuits. You don't live in someone else's house. For a network, the old-school email address book, etc., works just fine.

Interpretation 2: By shunning connectedness, workers in mid-career set themselves up for a trap should they ever need to change jobs or progress through the ranks. The lack of a handy network also makes it harder to reach out and get a quick answer to a question, or to remind someone of your presence. You lose your sharpness. You have one less tool in your arsenal to tap into the global "brain," since the social graph can augment "mere" research. Relative isolation moves you closer to the camp of The Rooted as described by Prof. Richard Florida in his latest (Who's Your City?, Chapter 5, "The Mobile and the Rooted"). If your virtual city is as unfashionable or as tucked away as an economically-unfavorable real physical location (you've gotta read Florida to get this), you wind up with lower ("rooted") status than those who are connected and mobile (even if only virtually in this case).

There is considerable food for thought in Interpretation 2. Weighing some of the evidence and looking at a list of the most successful folks I know, my sense is that churlish non-adopters may need to take a second look at the benefits of the social graph. While Facebook may be akin to XBox, in other ways, professionals should be wary of involuntary dropping out of a race they didn't even know was being run.

Labels: ,

Posted by Andrew Goodman




View Posts by Category

 

Speaking Engagement

I am speaking at SMX Milan

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


Posts from 2002 to 2010


07/2002
08/2002
09/2002
10/2002
11/2002
12/2002
01/2003
02/2003
03/2003
04/2003
05/2003
06/2003
07/2003
08/2003
09/2003
10/2003
11/2003
12/2003
01/2004
02/2004
03/2004
04/2004
05/2004
06/2004
07/2004
08/2004
09/2004
10/2004
11/2004
12/2004
01/2005
02/2005
03/2005
04/2005
05/2005
06/2005
07/2005
08/2005
09/2005
10/2005
11/2005
12/2005
01/2006
02/2006
03/2006
04/2006
05/2006
06/2006
07/2006
08/2006
09/2006
10/2006
11/2006
12/2006
01/2007
02/2007
03/2007
04/2007
05/2007
06/2007
07/2007
08/2007
09/2007
10/2007
11/2007
12/2007
01/2008
02/2008
03/2008
04/2008
05/2008
06/2008
07/2008
08/2008
09/2008
10/2008
11/2008
12/2008
01/2009
02/2009
03/2009
04/2009
05/2009
06/2009
07/2009
08/2009
09/2009
10/2009
11/2009
12/2009
01/2010
02/2010
03/2010
04/2010

Recent Posts


Too Cuil for its own good?

Digg Deal's Dead

"Candy Ass Social Media Goody 2 Shoes"?

eFront is Back: Well, Sort Of

Did Google Use Ad Planner to Gauge Digg Acquisitio...

Google's Keyword Tool With Volume Numbers: Useful ...

Not Getting the $50,000 Startup Thing

The Iron Cage of Mediocrity

Google Diggs it, but should we?

Google Earnings Still Incredible

 


Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals

 


Home | Categories | Archive | About Us | Internet Marketing Consulting | Contact Us
© 1999 - 2013 Traffick.com. All Rights Reserved