Last year I pondered, “Is age a factor when utilizing social media?” I ended up comparing digital natives to digital immigrants to try and find the answer. Understanding how different ages relate to the world of digital technology helps to explain Prensky’s definition of digital natives and digital immigrants.
According to Forbes, professionals in their 20s dream of starting up the next big social media platform. People in their 30s are looking to invest in other social media platforms. What happens when you’re in your 40s or 50s? Now we’re in a grey area (pardon the pun) because many of these professionals are now in the C-suite. Many of the professionals within the C-suite are above forty and can be considered digital immigrants. But not every professional up in the C-suite has taken the time to dive into social media. Why not?
Forbes goes on to indicate that within an independent study 82% of respondents trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media. This clearly shows us that adapting to the digital world is crucial for business, even at the upper levels. Social media is more and more becoming an important voice for businesses of all sizes. Deciding not to use social media as a form of communication can exclude many audiences and stakeholders.
So those of you who are digital immigrants, it’s time to learn the new language, the language of social media! This involves understanding how to use different applications within the online landscape. Remember, the world of digital technology is a fast-paced world, so be prepared to learn new online tools along the way.
How can we convince those that just aren’t interested?
Digital immigrants need to understand that digital technology can be used as a tool to improve business. As indicated by Forbes, 77% are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles. Many individuals feel that a company can use social media to show their personality. A Twitter account, for example, can show what’s important to a company or organization and can extend an understanding of their values.
For those that haven’t evolved into the digital world, maybe it’s about time they do. This is particularly important for the C-suite. Also discussed by Forbes, 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. Engaging with employees, customers and other stakeholders can expand awareness of a company’s or organization’s brand image. Using social media to expand a brand image reaches out to an endless amount of people of all ages.
Once again, digital skills are not wired within our brains when we are born. Digital skills are taught and an individual can choose to learn these skills at any age. All you need is passion and willingness to learn!