I had an interesting conversation last night that led me to think about social media in a new light.  I whole heartedly believe that social media is here to stay.  It’s the collective voice of the masses.  And technology has evolved to let the bunny out of the hat.  There’s no putting it back.  However, this dinner conversation just gave me cause to stop and think for a bit.  How do organizations really capitalize on social media?  And is it really reaching the audience?

Our next generation to join our workforce has grown up with technology.  The first IBM PC was designed and released in 1981.  The first Macintosh was launched in 1984.  My daughter who turned 18 2 days ago was born in 1991, and we had a computer in our home several years before that.

Now granted, my daughter does not know how to look up movie times without an internet connection.  But I digress.  I started in talking about the dinner conversation.  We were out celebrating that milestone — E’s 18th birthday.  With us were my husband, her cousin A (age 16) and A’s cousin J (age 17).  That put two boomers and three Gen Y’s at the table. 

Here’s how the conversation progressed…

E and A were talking about the benefits of MySpace.  E has had an account since middle school.  She has always heeded the advice of the news and made her profile private.  A is pretty much the same.  A said she just finally got a Facebook account.  She only conceeded to a Facebook account because so many of her friends were on it.  Especially her friends from around the globe that she’s acquired because of her involvement as a Girl Scout Camp Counselor. 

E basically said, I’m not giving up my MySpace.  A agreed and said she really doesn’t understand Facebook.  Didn’t like the fact that all her comments were generally public to all of the people she accepted and wanted to be able to customize the backgrounds.   A admitted that she only really knew how to accept friends and to reply to messages… Then she turned to me, “Oh by the way, Aunt Vicki, have you invited me to be a friend yet?”  I replied that no I hadn’t but that I would right then from my Blackberry.  “Wow, you can do that?”

Yes, E said my mom’s a “nerd”.  And then she brought up Twitter.  She said that she had only just recently learned about Twitter like a week before.  She found out that I’d been Tweeting for a few months.  A inquired about what Twitter was, and I went into my lengthy, albeit nerdy explanation.

This gave A pause.  She turned to me and said “What ever happened to someone just picking up the phone?  Don’t people ever talk any more?” 

Long story, short… just made me question… We’re all working to figure out this thing called social media and the best way to reach our markets, especially the up and coming generations.  Are we?