At the #usguys #philly meetup we talked a bit about the volatile nature of relationships and whether the stream has grown too large to create/maintain the ‘tribe’ (@aldsaur coming up with her own great perspectives on this).
One thing we established that meeting face-to-face immediately boosts the amount of interest an individual has in reading and responding to tweets from fellow #usguys. This is a point being made across many platforms – social media is great for reaching out but real relationships are formed in real life.
This fact is something many people my age struggle with – friends who are new to Twitter aren’t attached to it, because they follow people who are already IRL connections. Knowing someone personally trumps knowing them on Twitter, and renders it more of a plaything than anything else. This mentality holds true for pretty much everyone thats still at the kid’s table of Twitter.
But I noticed something else about the nature of relationships conducted via social media that nobody brought up last night: age. @Tho_r and myself were easily the only people under 30, and definitely have the least amount of professional experience of the group.
I got into social media because as a recent college grad and generally computer-handy person, internships and small business owners who have their hands full were more than happy to have me take the reins of anything Internet-related. But #usguys is made up of consummate professionals with years of marketing experience under their belts and who have been dealing in social media before anybody coined the term. More importantly, they’ve been dealing in networks, relationships and brand identity entirely without the aid of computers.
Obviously, this group is a fantastic wealth of information for someone looking to learn about pretty much anything related to branding, small business and yes even social media. But I can’t help feeling that at some point right around graduation, I got up from the kids table and stumbled upon an extra chair with the grownups. And while the kids table still looks really fun, and I miss finger painting to my surprise the big table isn’t so different. There’s still paint (on iPads instead of easel boards), there’s more good-natured humor and less hostility, and everything everyone says is absolutely fascinating. I know there are in fact plenty of people under 30 on the stream but my point remains the same – they’ve been freelancing or working for a few years and have mastered the etiquette required to dine at a table with fine white linens. I’m staring at the forks, figuring out which one to use.
I just find it interesting that so many have assumed I’m good with Twitter because I’m young, even when data shows the average user is 39. Another #usguys member, @starry_girl pointed out that marketers often miss her demographic, which is the exact age range that has not only adapted to Twitter but pushed it forward as a business tool. Without them, everyone my would be stuck at the kids table, retweeting Kim Kardashian and mucking about with blinged out background.
So all I can say is thanks for letting me pull up a chair.