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Studies Show All Ages Network Online

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I’ve recently been approached by several large real estate company recruiters asking for my advice on how I would go about recruiting talent.

I’ve been asked this before, and my response has become pretty refined. Being a tech guy, the conversation usually goes to blogging, social networking and search engine optimization.

Uh Oh

When I talk about social networking, nine out of ten times, I hit the roadblock of “that’s for kids”. I always hate hearing this. I’ll admit, Jay and Bill don’t act their age, but social networks are for kids? Come on, grow up!

Finally, along came AARP (who I am looking forward to joining someday) who did a great study about social networks amongst “older” Americans.

Silly Rabbit, Social Networks AREN’T Just for Kids

My favorite part is the finding that “Among internet users 50+ who are members of online communities, 58% log in to their online community daily or several times a day, compared with 47% of members under 20”

Hmm, just for kids? I guess not.

Another point I found interesting involved the 70+ year old crowd:

46% of users under 50 say the internet is important or very important in maintaining their social relationships – identical to the percentage for those over 70

Thank you Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication for summing this up so nicely for us:

In specific areas, there is often little difference in use of online technology between older users and some of the youngest users.

So the next time you, young or young-at-heart, are told that online social networks are for kids, feel free to shed some light on the truth. Heck, invite your grandparents to friend you on Facebook!

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 6:04 am

    This is a solid point Nick.

    Several years ago, a local old folks home asked me to provide a bid for wiring their entire campus of assisted living communities. I asked them what was driving their decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do this. The answer? Two words.

    Consumer demand.

    Something I have never forgotten.

    Eric

  2. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 6:04 am

    NIck – very interesting statistics. I never would have thought social networks are frequented by the 50+ group. At 60 years old (a true fact), I was thinking the social networks are for the younger generations – so this was very eye opening for me.

    Now I just to have other people that want to socialize that aren’t real estate agents. LOL

    When I look at my friends on the social network sites – it is mostly real estate agents!

  3. Mike Taylor

    August 5, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Who knew??? I would have NEVER guessed this to be true. I guess that is what you get for making assumptions about people. Thanks for the eye opening data.

  4. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 5, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I’d be curious to see what the break down is on a state by state basis – cause I’d bet that my area is WAY lower than those figures. I still have a fair amount of clients that don’t even have email.

    Mark Twain once said: “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky because it’s always twenty years behind the times”.

  5. Jim Duncan

    August 5, 2008 at 7:10 am

    The trends are not necessarily generational as much as they are a reflection of those who are embracing information and technology – the young ‘uns don’t have a monopoly on that. I’d also argue that the “older” ones may be more inclined to see the business value in social networks and the internets as they have less free time to waste.

  6. Jay Thompson

    August 5, 2008 at 9:40 am

    “I’ll admit, Jay and Bill don’t act their age…”

    I have a wife and two teenagers that would agree 110% with that statement…..

    My mother, at 74, recently asked me if she should get a Facebook account. She hasn’t, yet, but sees it as a way to stay in touch with her grandkids (and kids).

  7. Bill Lublin

    August 5, 2008 at 10:21 am

    “I’ll admit, Jay and Bill don’t act their age…” Dude – I don’t even act your age!

    Oddly enough, I think that the functionality of the social netwrok has a lot to do with the usage, MySpace was a non-starter for me – for my son and his friends who are in the entertainment industry – it was better, but still not the winner facebook became because of the increased functionality and ability to interact with others in a variety of manners from messaging to sharing photos, joining groups and playing games – As the Social Networks become more flexible and reflective of our natural inclinations in interaction, more people came to play and to stay
    Great Post ! 😉

  8. Jeff Bernheisel

    August 5, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Hey Nick,

    Good find…

    I’ve been helping my brother in law setup a basic blog for his reverse mortgage business. We’ve gotten a lot of negative attitude from others in his office saying his target demographic isn’t going to be looking online. Obviously I disagree… This article backs what I’ve been telling them for a couple months now. (I’ve already forwarded it to them)

    His blog is getting traffic, wether its his target demo or not, people are searching for reverse mortgages online and reading his blog. (average time on his site is over 6 minutes) It’s only 2 months old, but it’s just a matter of time before he starts getting deals from it.

    -Jeff

  9. Rod Rebello

    August 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    I maintain my 80+ yr old parents computer and internet service. Believe me, I get an earful when either are not working!

  10. Nick Bostic

    August 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    @Eric – There’s been a couple of new retirement communities built near me and one of the biggest points on their signs is “High speed internet provided!”

    @Glenn – I hear you on the real estate agents as online friends point. That’s why about once every other week I go onto TwitterLocal to find people who are just near me geographically, not in my line of work. I find sometimes you just have to force yourself to go look elsewhere.

    @Mike – I’ve been waiting for a study like this. My 80+ year old grandfather has been coding web sites for a few years now and loves his email. I figured he couldn’t be the only one 🙂

    @Jennifer – That Twain quotation has always intrigued me, I need to get out your way one of these days.

    @Jim – Not totally sure about the “less free time to waste” comment since I see how many hours I work and those “older” generations are getting into retirement 🙂 But I think maybe since they didn’t grow up in front of computers, the fun/tolerance is different from those of us who did.

    @Jay – My mom knows the easiest & quickest way to get in touch with me is via a text message, so she was forced to learn.

    @Bill – I have always hated MySpace with a passion, but you’re right about industries, several friends who are in bands have had great exposure on there.

    @Jeff – Glad I was able to dig up some research to help! Also happy to see you’re not just concerned about hits and are tracking a more important metric like time on site.

    @Rob – You’ve turned them into addicts! 🙂

  11. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Hey jennifer;

    That old folks home I was talking about was the Masonic Home in Louisville Kentucky!!! Not sure Mark Twain was accurate there! (grin)

    Eric

  12. Dan Connolly

    August 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    When I signed up for StumbleUpon I entered my age (56). I was automatically labeled “old guy from Atlanta GA” WTF? I said, I don’t feel like an old guy, so I made my age private. Really for me Facebook and Linkedin seem like they are primarily for corporate types or recent college grads looking for work or dates. Maybe there is something there I am missing. Does anyone get RE clients from these sites? Is there any SEO value in having a bunch of friends?

  13. Jamey Bridges

    August 5, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Nick, the graph is great, glad they could put that information together to share (Fight On!).
    I don’t know if they have a graph by age groups and the networks they are most active on. It seems that more professional marketed networks like LinkedIn and Facebook seem to have a different demographic concentration than say MySpace. I think each one certainly serves a niche though so it would definitely be important not to ignore them.

  14. LDG in London

    August 5, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    It’s a good job that we have got the silver surfers.. they are the only ones who still have faith in property. We have noticed a distinct lack of under 35’s since the recent property slow down began.

    The old folks understand the long term nature of the property investment cycle and having seen it last time around they want everything in place for when things get going again.

  15. msWoods Indianapolis Real Estate

    December 7, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Have any of you had much success finding clients with any of the social networks like Facebook? Do you actually use them for business?

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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