Running an online blog I know how hard it is to get people to my site. When I created the NH Labor News, I started with a blogger account and a Facebook page. Now we have grown to include Twitter (@NHlabor_News), Pintrest, Google+, and Tumblr. Why so many accounts? Because everyone has their favorite place browse, and every site has their advantage.
There is no doubt that the ‘millennial’ generation is the most active on social media websites. They make status updates every time they sneeze! Many of these people access the Internet through their smartphones and tablets. As we go up in the age brackets we see a decline in the number of people who are active on social media. I would argue that the people are there, they just choose not to post everything they are doing. With a little training the older generation can be effective messengers.
Recently Fosters Daily Democrat posted a new article that highlighted how senior are becoming more active online.
“According to a Pew Research Center study from 2012, 53 percent of adults age 65 and older in the United States were using the Internet or email…. 34 percent of senior citizen Internet users utilize social networking sites such as Facebook, while 18 of those individuals do so routinely.”
The major problem with all of these seniors being online is that many of them do not know or understand how to effectively use their computers and social media accounts.
“A lot of times we find that someone’s family member buys them a computer, but they are unsure how to use it,” said Krista Trefethen (assistant recreation director for the Dover Senior Center). “We’ve also seen an increase in the number of questions coming from our members relating to tablets, Nooks, and other technology.”
This is a huge opportunity for groups like the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and the NH Alliance for Retired Americans to help teach their senior members how to effectively use their social media accounts. Not only could they teach people how to use Facebook, but how to help push a message through their Facebook account. This could also be a great way for seniors to become informed about issues and events in their area.
No matter how good a message is if you fans on social media accounts do not share it, the message falls flat. With creative training sessions we could teach an entire group of people how to push our collective message.
There are significant advantages to having senior online pushing our message. They are living the message. When people talk about cuts to Social Security seniors know what that will mean to them, and that helps provide validity to the message. It also shows their friends, who are in similar age bracket, how they could be affected.
There is another advantage to arming seniors with effective messaging techniques. They do not give a crap about what other people think of them. I took an online training session last year that talked about how to frame your blog titles for the biggest shares on Facebook. The key was that it had to pass the ‘mom’ test. Middle age women are the biggest sharers on Facebook, for two reasons. They are opinionated and they are not afraid of what other people think about them after they tell you how they feel. This is the same for seniors. They do not care if people know they are a Republican or a Democrat. They do not care if you do not like what they have to say.
Pushing a message is more about how many times people see it. How many times have clicked on something just because everyone you know is sharing it? It is about repetition.
Through social media training from our advocacy groups we can teach people young and old how to spread your message.