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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

Reactions to Twitter Blue from real subscribers, p.s. its not worth it

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, gives more control over tweets and custom UI, but subscriber reception has been lukewarm.

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Twitter Blue Sign Up Page

Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that gives users increased control over their tweets and the appearance of their interfaces, launched this summer. Subscriber reception has been lukewarm, foreshadowing some resistance to shifts away from advertising-based revenue models for social media platforms.

The allure of Twitter Blue isn’t immediately apparent; beyond a relatively low price tag and increased exclusivity on a platform that emphasizes individuality, the service doesn’t offer much to alter the Twitter experience. Twitter Blue’s main selling point – the ability to preview and alter tweets before sending them – may not be enough to convince users to shell out the requisite three dollars per month.

Other features include the option to change the theme color and icon appearances. Twitter Blue subscribers can also read some ad-supported news articles without having to view ads courtesy of Twitter’s acquisition of Scroll, a company that provides ad-free news browsing.

But even with this variety of small customization options and the promise of more to come, users are skeptical. Android Central’s Shruti Shekar is one such user, beginning her review with, “Right off the bat, this feature isn’t worth the money you’d be spending on it every month.”

Shekar posits that the majority of the features are wasted on long-term users. “I think a lot of my opinions come from a place of using Twitter for so long in a certain way that I’ve gotten used to it, and now I find it challenging to adapt to something that would theoretically make my life easier,” she explains.

One of those adaptations centers on Twitter Blue’s “Undo Tweet” feature – something that belies the notion of proofreading and using common sense before sending thoughts into the nether.

“For me, 95% of the time, I really do pay attention to my tweets before I send them out,” says Shekar.

Twitter Blue checking Tweets before sending.

Shekar does praise Twitter Blue’s “Reader Mode” feature that allows users to view threads as uninterrupted columns but argues that the feature would probably end up being underutilized despite being a cool concept.

The aforementioned color and theme customization was of little interest to Shekar. “I actually found it a bit challenging to get used to the other colors, not because they’re ugly, but again because I am just so used to the classic blue,” she says.

One problem here is that the options to change link and theme colors and put threads in reader mode seem more like accessibility features than premium content. Twitter might do well to make these available to all users, if for no other reason than to avoid criticism about locking quality of life updates behind a subscription paywall.

Shekar’s criticism hits on a crucial point for any social media company looking to emulate Twitter Blue’s subscription model: Even if the subscription price is low, companies have to be prepared to make actual meaningful changes to the user experience if they want satisfied subscribers. That includes building in options that don’t fundamentally alter the basic aspects (or appearance) of the platform.

For more on Twitter Blue, check out their blog post on it here.

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Social Media

Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck

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Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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Social Media

Truth Social: Trump’s long-standing battle against Big Tech backfires

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Truth Social is an example of how a new platform, though necessary to keep competition alive, can prove to be fallible before it succeeds.

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Man holding iPhone with Truth Social app download page up, as well as the stock market and Trump in the background on computer screens.

Former President Donald J. Trump announced a new social media platform, dubbed “Truth Social” last week. The platform has since been the recipient of cyber attacks by hacker collective Anonymous and the Software Freedom Conservancy has accused the Trump Media and Technology Group of violating the terms of their software agreement.

The circumstances plaguing Truth Social provide a small (if nuanced) look into the rigors of creating and sustaining new social media platforms in the modern-day. While expanding the number of social media platforms available creates more competition, this platform, in particular, raises some questions about the wisdom of investing in a service that creates an ideological echo chamber, as well as demonstrating that not just anyone can run a social media site.

There’s no denying that this new entry into the world of social media is off to a rocky start. Cyberattacks just hours after Truth Social’s test run left the site in disarray, with fake user accounts for Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump appearing at various stages of the launch. Truth Social’s hosts eventually took it offline, and the sign-up process is halted for the time being.

Woman holding iPhone showing Truth Social's feed.

Truth Social also has some interesting rules regarding user interactions on their platform, including a non-disparagement clause and the assertion that users can be sued for the content they post, Time reports.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” says one section of the Truth Social terms of use.

This clause is in stark contrast to the ethos behind Truth Social – a platform that, according to the press release, was “founded with a mission to give a voice to all” and “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The disparity in messaging versus reality is an understandable mistake, as much of Trump’s mindset was most likely impacted by criticism levied against him on mainstream social media when he had his accounts – and anyone in the same position might reasonably make the same call. However, restricting users to agree with one set political ideology is a perilous precedent to set. Echo chambers aren’t particularly conducive to longevity.

iPhone showing Trump's suspended Twitter account.

The Trump Media and Technology Group also violated the terms of their open-source software of choice when they uploaded the pilot version of Truth Social. According to the licensing agreement associated with Mastodon – the software company TMTG used – users must have access to the source code for the product in question (in this case, Truth Social).

Since the initial users of Truth Social did not receive that access, the social media platform is at risk of permanently losing its rights to the code.

While some of these pitfalls feel proprietary to Trump insofar as his high-profile battle against social media is concerned, the truth is that any development of new social media entries will be messy and fraught with obstacles. Truth Social is just one example of how a new platform – something that is absolutely necessary to keep competition alive – can prove to be publicly fallible far before it ever succeeds.

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