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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

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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Social Media

Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.

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Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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