From a young age I’ve loved interacting with people; sharing ideas, challenging opinions, getting or giving help, and generally being a bit of a “yapper” to quote my parents. My teachers found me disruptive and I have to sympathize with them because I was a bit of a pain in the butt. I’m sure they would be shocked to know that 25 years later (yep, I’m a Gen Xer) my obsessively collaborative nature would end up being a benefit and not a curse. So I’m a Gen Xer who loves social. I created my first IBM Connections Community back in 2008 and am happy to say that it’s still alive and kicking. In fact tomorrow it celebrates 7 years. Happy Birthday Content & Social Analytics @ IBM :-)
But this post isn’t about me, its about the many Gen Xers who feel excluded from the social revolution. I too frequently get notes from Gen Xers who feel lost, and received yet another one yesterday which provoked me to write this post. They keep getting told how important it is to have social eminence, influence, and a digital reputation, and yet they somehow feel excluded, that they are too old to start and that they are at a disadvantage because social is a millennial thing. Rubbish!
If you are a Gen Xer on the fence, then keep the following in mind… Millennials are not necessarily great at social, they are just more comfortable with it. There is a huge difference between using social to keep up with friends and family, and using it to generate business value; so don’t beat yourself up or think you are at a disadvantage because I don’t believe you are. In many ways you are actually in a better starting place to benefit from social, at least enterprise social. You’ve been working for many years in different companies, teams, roles, and likely have an already existing physical network with which to bootstrap your social network. Social tools just give you a new set of capabilities to help you be even more effective at managing your networks.
Below are a couple of links where I’ve shared some of my personal experiences with getting on-board with social media: