Over 50? Hate keeping up with technology? Here's some help.
Are you tired of trying to keep up with social media? Hate having to learn yet another new software? Sorry to break it to you sport, but you've gotta embrace it or you may find yourself sitting with your Palm Pilot in the lobby of the unemployment office. 

It's no secret technology is moving at the speed of light and keeping up with it may seem overwhelming. But it's an integral part of our lives and businesses today. Take for example, the recent Wall Street Journal profile of 50-year-old advertising executive Doug Gould and his goal to avoid becoming the "Office Tech Dinosaur." Although he is an advertising veteran with an impressive list of accomplishments, he was a little uneasy when his younger colleagues starting calling him "Uncle Doug" and "Coach".  Gould learned, and you may have also found, that competing with younger colleagues requires constant work to stay-up-to date because most of them grew up texting, tweeting, using Facebook and playing videogames.

How to stay ahead? Here are a few easy ways:
1. Start with education.
  • Classroom or online - There are plenty of online and classroom courses available at community colleges or through professional organizations. If you're uneasy about learning a new skill, start with one short class and build from there
  • Social media sites  - Most sites have FAQs, mini-training modules, and "How-To" videos to help users understand the basics. Click around, read up, and determine if they are a good fit for you, your career or your business.
  • LinkedIn discussion groups - LinkedIn is known for its professional networking power, but there are also countless discussion groups to join. Choose a couple topics of interest, join a group and learn by asking questions & following the discussions.

2. Consider how technology can help you or your clients. In the WSJ story, Gould first resisted Twitter because of its limit of 140 characters. But once he recognized its power and efficient way to share information, he made Twitter the basis of a campaign for a non-profit. It paid off - more than 20,000 tweets from volunteers telling upbeat stories spurred a 37% jump in web traffic for the client.

3. Share your business savvy. Although younger colleagues may be at a higher level tech-wise, they may not have the interpersonal or communications skills you've acquired through working with clients or staying calm in high stress situations.  Be willing to share your expertise (in a non-condescending way, of course) to help younger colleagues learn these low-tech, but essential career skills.

We've been looking at some of the Social Media Statistics for 2013 for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and we thought it may be helpful for you in planning your social media strategy. 
Keep in mind, your social media activity should be in line with your marketing strategy - and ALWAYS remember who your target audience is! With that in mind, here we go: 

  • Clear leader in terms of user base, dwarfing Pinterest (to be fair Pinterest has not been around as long), and double the user base of Twitter 
  • Slightly older user base (between 35-54) than Twitter and Pinterest (between 18 and 35)
  • Leader in e-commerce, with Pinterest growing quickly and coming up a fast second 
  • Users spend approximately 12 minutes on site 
  • Highest female user base, especially if you’re looking to sell online 
  • Strong higher education and high earnings base (valuable in an e-commerce scenario) 
  • Second highest use of e-commerce, second only to Facebook 
  • Users spend over an hour on average on this site - MUCH higher than Twitter and Facebook 
  • Twitter or Facebook is the social network of choice for men 
  • Dominant user age range is 18-35 
  • Users spend approximately 6 minutes on site 
  • Has not embraced a visual aspect into its user experience
All in all, 2013 is sure to be a year of change, which seems to be a constant in online social media. When considering where to spend your social media dollars, be aware of your target audience, set up a strategy and reach out for help when you need it!

Does technology make us more productive... or less?
We see you out there - looking down at your electronic devices as you walk down the street, sitting on buses & trains or at a restaurant during dinner conversation. Checking email, Facebook & Twitter are certainly part of "the fabric of our lives" and we're right there with ya. Social media is an important part of any marketing strategy and we embrace it - but do you ever wonder how it affects productivity? Your employees'...or your own? How about your personal relationships?

Obviously, technology has greatly improved products and services in countless industries, producing devices and services that improve our quality of life and often save lives. But for the day-to-day employee, is time spent on social media cutting into productivity? And is it measurable? In contrast, if you are producing is substandard quality widget, you can make adjustments to the quality and that is indeed measurable. But in the service industry, how do you measure minutes lost by checking in on social media throughout the work day?

Turns out it is hard to quantify. There is no shortage of coverage on this topic, but we found an article by Caroline Baum from Bloomberg News interesting. She says when devices help us produce more output with less labor, prices fall, real wages rise and we are all better off. Technology is always equated with good - more is better. But she wonders if some of the latest innovations are productivity-enhancing or just a waste of time.

"If we as a nation are twittering our lives away, surely it must be manifesting itself in statistics," she says. It makes logical sense that if you are spending more time on Facebook and Twitter than devoting time to your actual work, quality will suffer. But it's hard to prove.
She contacted the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found the monthly calculation used to calculate productivity is based on total hours worked and revenue. In a service industry, it's hard to quantify lost productivity due to tweeting.

We think it comes down to common sense. If you are able to complete your work in a timely manner & your quality is top-notch, then you probably don't have anything to worry about. But if your time on social media is starting to affect your productivity, you might want to put away your phone and get back on that project. 

Hey... that'd make a good Facebook post.....