Talking to the old farts

by Lee Hopkins on June 4, 2007 · 4 comments

in Uncategorized

Mature worker Mrs Daphne Whitethigh at the coffee machine, yesterday

The Weekend Australian had a great special report on the Mature Age workforce. My good friend Catriona Byrne had a HUGE photo in it (her mum has allegedly bought 100 copies of the newspaper).

Catriona is one of the directors of Adage, the jobs board for the Over-40s. And as a recent post on her blog says,

“Too, too many employers and recruiters still angle their message at graduates / young recruits. Have you not seen the demographics of the decline in labour market growth? Your groovy graphics and pumping music may appeal to the busloads of students at an expo – but it won’t necessarily grab the largest untapped pool of talent – the over 45s. Wake up to yourselves!”

To which I can only add my $0.02 worth…

As a fellow internal communicator I ask you: are you pitching your messages at just one demographic? Do your Over-40s feel alienated and lost? Are they unable to keep up with all this youth nonsense like ‘iPods’, ‘MySpace’, ‘blogs’, ‘podcasts’, ‘mashups’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Second Life’, ‘WoW’… and so on and so forth? How about giving them a guide through the maze? Or why not send them the White Paper (pdf) that Trevor and I wrote? Why not help them in a physical sense by running a workshop for them on the basic Web2.0 stuff? Hire an expert in and let them walk your Over-40s colleagues through blogging, rss feeds and wikis… let them set up their own blogs and subscribe to a few blogs and feeds of their choosing? Once they see the power of rss to bring them valuable content from the experts, rather them having to waste time scouring Google for it, their productivity will improve (I know it will!).

I’m happy to come and talk to them if you want, and show them how to ‘join in’ this scary-at-first new communications world. After all, who better to explain it all to them than someone who is himself an old fart… Email me: Lee at LeeHopkins dot com.

As Austin Powers says, “I don’t bite. Hard.”


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  • http://everydotconnects.com/ Connie Reece

    As Tom Peters advises, marketers need to think Women, Boomers and Geezers. The older demographic has disposable income, and women make the majority of buying decisions. As an aging female Boomer, I’m one of the “old farts” who qualifies on 2 out of 3 counts. LOL

    But don’t automatically assume that all of us over-40s are in the dark when it comes to “the Internets.” We might even be the ones teaching the young’uns a thing or two. I head up the Austin branch of Social Media Club, and as a consultant I help clients learn conversational marketing.

    And my mom? She’s 83 and has a Facebook page so she can correspond with her grand-nieces and nephews across the world. On the other hand, I know a businesswoman who is 30 and only knows e-mail; she refuses to learn about blogs, wikis and the like.

    Your point is well-taken, though, Lee. We risk alienating a huge number of people who simply need a friendly instructor. We need to be producing more resources to help them learn, whatever their age.

  • http://everydotconnects.com Connie Reece

    As Tom Peters advises, marketers need to think Women, Boomers and Geezers. The older demographic has disposable income, and women make the majority of buying decisions. As an aging female Boomer, I’m one of the “old farts” who qualifies on 2 out of 3 counts. LOL

    But don’t automatically assume that all of us over-40s are in the dark when it comes to “the Internets.” We might even be the ones teaching the young’uns a thing or two. I head up the Austin branch of Social Media Club, and as a consultant I help clients learn conversational marketing.

    And my mom? She’s 83 and has a Facebook page so she can correspond with her grand-nieces and nephews across the world. On the other hand, I know a businesswoman who is 30 and only knows e-mail; she refuses to learn about blogs, wikis and the like.

    Your point is well-taken, though, Lee. We risk alienating a huge number of people who simply need a friendly instructor. We need to be producing more resources to help them learn, whatever their age.

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