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Thursday, 21 October 2010

Social Media - Fun For All Ages

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to talk with a group of about eighteen senior citizens visiting Los Angeles as part of a tour organized by Road Scholar (formerly Elder Hostel), an organization that creates educational tours for older adults of locations around the world. The tours include a great deal of artistic and historical sites, as well as talks from representative locals.

As a "filmmaker," (in quotes because hardly anyone works in film anymore), I was asked to speak with this group for an hour before they left for their tour about my own perspective as a media professional working in what is essentially a company town.

When this opportunity was offered to me, I was intrigued with the challenge of talking about the media industry, what I do for a living (create non-fiction/documentary work), and all of the changes that are taking place in my industry - in particular, social media.

I like to describe visual social media (i.e. YouTube) as a "third platform" beyond that of television and motion pictures.  For those new to the concept, it helps to place this new form of communication in a historical context as the natural evolution of a form of visual expression.  I also expressed my belief that this form of communication might eventually provide huge new opportunities for an entirely new breed of entrepreneur.

I told them about the community aspect of social media - the idea of followers/subscribers, and the like, and the various forms of expression from blogging to podcasting to YouTube-style vlogging.  I spoke of the emerging media literacy being as important as literacy itself proved for the development of civilization.  I spoke of the growing army of citizen journalists, and told them how Social Media Journey's own Andy Gunton became, in effect, a media outlet of his own after the recent Hastings pier fire.

I introduced them to the great simplicity of Flip (and Flip-like) cameras, and the fact that this is a form of expression that is practiced by people of all ages (of course, I mentioned YouTube's Geriatric1927).  

The group was fascinated, and very much engaged.  We probably could have gone on for another two hours.   They were intrigued with the possibilities, particularly in regard to cameras like the Flip, and excitedly shared ideas with me after the discussion about how they could use this technology.

Talks like these leave me wildly optimistic about the future of social media.  We're still at the very dawn of this era...


  1. I think this just shows that if people are aware of what can be done with social media, they are far more likely to get involved.
    Older people, especially, are quite often scared of the unknown & i think that's the main reason they've not embraced social media, yet.
    But people like yourself & Peter, Geriatric1927, are helping to show them that's there is really nothing to fear.
    Well done & keep up the good work.

  2. And, of course, the recent Pew study showed that senior women are currently the fastest growing demographic on sites like Facebook!

    I can't imagine only having an hour to cover all that material. Yes, it should have been a three hour session!

  3. Going into it, I wasn't entirely sure where the discussion would go - though by virtue of their involvement in an educational program, I was optimistic. It was a general overview with plenty of analogies...but wouldn't it be great fun to really teach an introductory class to an interested crowd like this to all the tools of social media - blogs, vlog, podcasts and the like? Hmmmm...

  4. In a way Rich, that's pretty much how i envisaged this site. Showing people what's out there & what you can get out of it.
    And if that message comes from people who actually use the sites, it's so much better.