It's a social world out there.

Live, not learn.

Posted on: November 22, 2009

Social media is that area in which young people, especially teens, have a real advantage. This is is explained clearly in a recent Wall Street Journal Article blog quoting founder of MomCentral.com on social media and young people in the office, ““They speak fluently a language that I speak with a strong accent — I am doing digital as a second language,” said Ms. DeBroff, who recently offered a full-time position to one intern who impressed her with his ideas for how the company could use Facebook to promote its clients.” (1)

This quote gives a metaphor that is a perfect fit when describing social media users.  We know that it is much easier to learn a second language at a young age. If you are born into a bi-lingual family you will grow up and know two languages. The learning part of those languages is, seemingly, unknown.  This is far different than trying to teach a teenager or adult a spanish when they spoke only english all their lives.

Teens and young adults have grown up with the internet and more recently social media.  They never knew they were learning to use a computer, then email, facebook or twitter, they simply knew one day. In learning this way, learning through living these technologies, young people more fully understand social media. This group, unlike many of the older constituents, have never questions the need or desire for the internet and social media. Young people who have participated in the growth of social media live a life fully connected, they will never understand the days of mailing resumes, or looking for jobs in the paper. Talking on the phone, which is what I did when I was a teenager, limits to one conversations at a time, you can chat with all your friends at once on facebook or through an instant messaging service. Young adults know these things, adults will learn them.

I am in no way saying adults are not present in the social media scene or that they will never be as knowledgeable as young people. I am saying they may struggle with learning and fully understanding many internet and social media technologies. For me, a 25 year old who checks facebook and twitter daily, it is second nature. I don’t questions the whys or whos, I just know it is something I enjoy taking part in.  Older generations will, in short, need to learn a new language.

1) Marte, J. (2009, October 28). Digits Technology News and Insights. The Wall Street Journal – Blog. Retrieved November 20, 2009, from blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/10/28/is-your-office-youngster-the-social-media-whiz/

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