I’m turning 40 this August, so you’ll have to cut me a little slack this Summer. I’m feeling pretty darn old, and some thoughts, ideas and emotions might come out a bit sideways from time to time.
But, I don’t think this is one of those times. I’ve been chatting a lot lately with younger folks. And, when I say younger, I mean under 30. Most of these people are not married and they don’t have kids. And good for them. I didn’t get married until I was 28, and I didn’t start having kids until I was 32. I cherished those 20s–those were great years.
But in chatting with these younger people without kids and/or spouses, I’ve come to realize something: They have a HUGE advantage on me when it comes to the social media consulting business.
Why? Let’s count a few different ways:
1-Time is most certainly on their side
My son’s almost eight years old now, so it’s hard for me to imagine what life was like before him (and my daughter, who’s almost 5). But, I can certainly tell you what life is like WITH them. Wonderful–but very hectic. We wake up each day and spend the first hour-plus getting them ready and off to school and daycare. We spend the weekday evenings shuttling them around to events, baseball practices and swimming lessons. And, we spend the weekends spending time with them and enjoying them as much as we can (because in five years, they’ll want nothing to do with us). But, that all means I have very little “downtime” in the evenings or weekends to read blogs, write my own posts, scan Twitter or Facebook, pin images on Pinterest, take photos and scan Instagram (my new favorite hobby). I know younger folks have other commitments and things going on in their lives, but at least they have the option. I no longer have that option. (Side note: I made this choice–I realize that. But, it’s still a big factor.)
2-They’re hard-wired differently.
OK Arik, now you’re just playing the pity card. Be honest, that’s what you’re saying (remember, 40 in August). And you’d probably be right. But young people today just work a bit differently than us over-40-year-olds (can I say that yet?). I mean, for me to juggle three screens at a time–that’s hard work. For a 25-year old, that’s routine. To text and email simultaneously while also scanning Twitter–that can be a bit tough for an old man like me (I know I’m not old, but let me have my moment, OK?). For a 28-year-old, that’s like riding a bike. I just think younger people are more adept at juggling and using technology that’s involved with social media because to a larger extent, they grew up with it. Keep in mind, my first computer wasn’t even a computer. It was a “word processor.” I wish I were kidding.
See point #1 above. Hopping on Twitter at night or reading blogs in the evenings can prove to be tough for me. Not because I don’t want to do it–it’s just about competing priorities. Namely a seven-year-old, a four-year-old and a wife. Forget about golf, which I used to play more than 75 times a Summer when I was younger (I was also on the golf teams in high school and college). I’ve given up almost all my hobbies. But, the family makes it hard to justify spending extra free time using or researching social media tools, trends and case studies (even though I still do it). My family comes before all else, but I also take my business very seriously and trying to balance the two is a constant challenge.
So, am I off my rocker here? Are younger people really set up to succeed more than us 40- or 50-year-olds when it comes to the social media game?
I’m eager to hear your thoughts.