Attitudinal Or Generational?

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Last week while sitting on the panel discussion, It’s In Their Hands: The Impact of Changing Consumer Trends and User Generated Media on the Communicator’s Role, at the New Media For Communications conference put on by the Canadian Institute, one of the attendees asked a question of the panel. It was a middle-aged woman who is a professional in communications for a large multi-national. After two days of running through Social Media, Blogs, Podcasting, etc… she asked, “is this an age thing?” As if only kids and people in their twenties care about Social Media.
I simply answered, “it’s attitudinal not generational.” Maybe that’s an over simplification, but earlier that morning I got an email from my Mother, who was vacationing, and it read: “Good morning, Have been following your Blog and it looks like you are having a great time in TO…” I then managed to score some time with my Brother (who is in his early thirties). I asked him if he had seen the pictures of our nephew from out West, to which he replied, “I haven’t checked my email in a couple of days.”
Being interested in Social Media is indicative of attitude (and interest) versus which generation you’re from.
So how do you change your marketing attitude? First off, it has be something that interests you. Those that have a passion for marketing will be interested in what the latest and greatest is, so that they can grow, learn and be more effective at what they love to do. Those that have a marketing “job” (which is not necessarily work they love or were meant to do), will always struggle with change and advancement.
If I’ve seen one thing in all of these new marketing channels, it is how simple, fun and accessible they are. You don’t need a biophysics degree to get hooked on Google Reader or tripped out on LinkedIn. You do need a passion and desire to grow and a wanting to understand how people are connecting in a fully-connected online world.
That has nothing to do with your age. It does, however, have everything to do with your attitude and interest in social media and new marketing channels.


  1. Couldn’t agree with you more Mitch
    As the adage for my industry goes, “It’s not your aptitude but your attitude that determines you altitude.”

  2. I agree with you that if you’re curious and open-minded, it does not matter what your age is. But I also think we’re seeing the arrival of a new generation that grew up on interactivity (videogames, the Web) and that certainly changes the mindset. I read Joystick Nation (from JC Herz) when it came out in 1997 and it changed the way I see the impacts of these new technologies. I think social networking sites and social tools are changing the way people are interacting with the Web. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see a book about that topic soon i.e. the Joystick Nation for this decade, to explain the phenomenon.

  3. I think it’s also habitual. People are creatures of habit and it’s just that for some people it may take longer to develop certain habits.
    Having said that, certain people will always have greater appreciation for a greeting card that they can open with their hands, versus one that they can open with their mouse. Same with digital photos versus film. It’s that extra sense that kicks in: touch…

  4. You are on the ball, but to bring it one step forward (if you agree), would be to say that one must possess the attitude to gain knowledge in whatever area you want to grow in.
    For example, my mother, like yours, wants to know what trouble I am up to. She gains that knowledge by visiting my blog. I am a music junkie, so go on pandora all the time to look for new bands…etc.
    Attitude is one thing, have a certain or “right” attitude is another.
    just my 2 cents.

  5. I agree that it is attitudinal not merely generational.
    I would add that it is also aspirational – and your words suggest that when you say, “Those that love what they do will be interested in what the latest and greatest is, so that they can grow, learn and be more effective at what they love to do.”
    As I work with clients, more and more I am looking for the energy and clarity they possess regarding their aspirations.
    If it is clear and passionate I feel we have a change to grow a brand and be authentically different. If not, we’re just treading water.
    Learned about your blog via Andy at “Pow…”

  6. I was thinking of creating an online course or a teleseminar series where I walk people though how to get online in a social media way. Stuff like RSS, tagging, setting up Google Reader, Google News Alerts, iTunes and more. I wonder if there is a market for this?

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