Friday, December 27, 2013

Twitter Is Dead

You heard me. Well maybe you didn’t. When you’re over 50, the hearing can start to deteriorate. I SAID, TWITTER IS DEAD.

How do I know? Because I recently saw a statistic from a Pew Research report, and it indicated that Twitter usage among 50-64 year olds doubled over the past 2 years. It is now probably the fastest growing demo for this social media behemoth.

So…in a repeat performance of how baby boomers killed facebook, it’s easy to see that Twitter will be dead in no time. Not only do they not have a clue about how to monetize it --- now they’re faced with the kiss of death stranglehold exerted by baby boomers. Like giant Anacondas, our demo can squeeze the life out of anything, whether it’s the latest social media fad or a new television show. If baby boomers actively like it, you can easily predict its demise.

Face it. If we like something, our enthusiasm and sheer numbers eventually make it unpalatable to everyone else. The landscape is littered with the fads we’ve destroyed. Acid-washed jeans, cocaine, Angry Birds, water beds, Ford Thunderbird, new age anything, etc., etc. If we’re all over it, then it’s all over.

We can turn a popular program or product into toast overnight. We may not kill it completely, but we can easily turn it into a niche product that only appeals to our demographic and is reviled by everyone else.

If only we could learn to use our powers for the good of the planet. Want to end global warming? Harness the power of baby boomers by getting us to deny it exists. Bam! Overnight everyone else will accept the truth of global warming research. It’s the same reverse psychology our parents used some fifty or more years ago. They didn’t want us to smoke, so they handed us the cigarettes and matches. Wait a second – that didn’t always work out the way they thought it would.

No matter. The dictum stands. Boomers like it. Boomers kill it. Remember, you read it here first. After we’ve killed Twitter, we may move on to Snapchat.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Internet Junkies

That would be you…you’re an internet junkie. That is if you’re a baby boomer. According to a recent McAfee study Americans age 50 and older are online an average of five hours per day. What the hell are we doing online for five hours? Facebooking and tweeting most likely. The study indicates that 80% of the survey respondents were using social media and 36% logged in to their social media sites on a daily basis.

The scariest stat is that 75% of the respondents did not know that social networking makes them vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. DUH! Double DUH! We’ve been oversharing since we were babies, so why would we stop now?

Now stop and think a moment. Why did McAfee commission this study? Remember, this is a company that sells anti-virus software and it’s owned by Intel. The survey found that 57% of the respondents shared or posted personal information online, and that excludes the normal info you supply when shopping online. And when they tell you that 24% of respondents have sent personal or intimate messages on their mobile devices, but a third have no password protection on them, what they are also doing is hyping the need for us to buy their antivirus protection products.

Hey, we may be internet junkies but we can see through the haze when someone tries to scare us into buying their products. Oh sure, they give you some tips on protecting yourself like not giving out your address, phone number or social security number online. We knew that. Change your passwords often? Easy to say but hard to do. Can’t remember the ones we have now. Turn off the GPS feature on your phone camera so people don’t know where you are. Not a bad idea or you could wait until you got home to send the pictures anyway.

It’s one thing when the American Heart Association does a study about diet and draws some conclusions in the form of advice to helps us all eat healthier. But it’s another thing when a for-profit company conducts a study for the purpose of encouraging us to buy their product. Something tells me we will be seeing more of this kind of covert marketing. The sheer size of our demographic continues to make us a target – for the identity thieves and the antivirus software makers.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.