Last week, NBC Nightly News visited the class I teach at UCLA – Internet Catch-Up for Boomers and Beyond. They wanted to film the class and interview students about why they’re taking the class. My students range in age from 50 to probably 82, but the reporter from NBC wanted to interview only the oldest among them. I listened to the interviews, and heard the same leading question asked of each one: “So, why are you taking this class on social media – is it so you can stay in touch with your family; like see photos of your grandchildren?”
The resulting “news story” on seniors and social media was so disappointing, because NBC reported exactly their predetermined conclusion: “Old folks are online to see pictures of the grand kids.”
Honestly – is that all they think we’re doing? Don’t they realize that there’s a much bigger story brewing?
The real news is that we as a generation are seeking to connect with family AND with each OTHER – in a big way. Boomer women, particularly, are feeling the urge to find, bond, talk, share, and support one another. Women are on Facebook 30% more daily than men are, for example, and they constantly share and recommend products and services, books and resources. Nine out of 10 online purchases by women are based on recommendations made by their online friends. We have a wide and strong web of connection with each other growing daily.
So why is this trend a story? Because – when we Boomers “catch up” to the internet and social media, we may just take the world by storm, given our massive numbers and our growing free time and wealth. Thanks to social media that transcends physical limitations, we might very well coalesce into a tidal wave of social, environmental, and political force much like we did in the 60s and 70s. THAT’s the news story.