Monday, April 15, 2013

BIG’s Blog: Social Media and Generational Perspectives

My friend Dave Targonski recently had the opportunity to observe – up close and personal – how the Millennial generation engages social media. Dave is a fundraiser, the father of five, and a Baby Boomer. Here are his ruminations.

The last time you heard live music what did you do?

  1. Attend with a group of friends and we enjoyed dinner, maybe some dancing but a lot of laughs.  Spent no time on social media
  2. Had dinner beforehand with a couple of friends, enjoyed the music with little interaction during the music – talked about it after listening to the band’s CD’s on the way home, and updated your Facebook account in the car or at home if you drove.  Spent maybe 10% of your time on social media
  3. Went to the concert with one or two friends.  Your actions of the night:
    1. Arrive at concert
    2. Upload pictures on a Social Media site
    3. Listen to music
    4. Comment on social media websites
    5. Listen to more music
    6. Upload video from concert
    7. Comment on others peoples’ comments to your pictures/comments (missing song you really like)
    8. Listen to more music
    9. Meet up with random concert attendees you meet online that night
    10. Go home and create a video/picture montage of the evening
Spent 50% of time on social media

Depending on how you answer, you could be in the Greatest Generation, a Baby Boomer, or a Millennial. Think about what these actions say about each group.

While I would not even think to act like a Millennial, think about it from their perspective.  The concert is not just a concert; it is a shared event among a large group of people who I may or may not know.  I will sacrifice my pleasure (listening to the song) to give pleasure to unknown people via my use of social media.  Instead of detracting from the experience it actually makes it a better experience.

In terms of fundraising, it illustrates the HUGE gap between how the generations engage with social media. One-size-fits-all direct mail is fine for the Greatest generation, but for the Boomers, now that they have engaged social media, one-size-fits-all direct mail is looking a bit dated. To the Millennials, well, they aren’t even opening the snail mail.
Courtesy of Dave Targonski, Belmont Abbey College.

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