Plenty of people of my vintage have yet to experiment with social networking sites. Amongst my friends there appears to be a very low adoption rate when it comes to Facebook, MySpace, and micro-blogging platforms such as Jaiku and Twitter. Why is this so?
For many life is simply too busy to be bothered with yet another “thing” to put into the schedule. As an example, a friend of mine has two kids and an already very well developed social network and she sees very little benefit in contributing to a social networking site. Would she enjoy more social outings as a result of a membership to an SNS? I doubt that would be possible.
My friend is far from an orphan. People of my age have grown up without SNS’s as a support mechanism for their social activities. Put simply, they don’t need the Internet or a bunch of overly-viral platform applications to keep their long-established friendships in tact.
So why would anyone pre-net gen want to participate? There are a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it’s to understand. It’s easy to knock what we don’t understand. By participating we get the opportunity to make an informed assessment on what all the fuss is about.
Secondly, we may just pick up a really useful tip that has a real-world payoff. Whether or not the rumours are as good as they sound – and there are plenty of doubters – there are plenty of musicians and bands who are now rich and famous as a result of being picked up by a talent scout straight off MySpace (or YouTube, or Facebook, or…).
Finally, participation alters the way we interact with technology. The thinking that brought us to this point in our lives is not going to help us understand the thinking with which the net-generation (read here the world’s future decision makers) will use to make choices about their own and our planet’s future.
If all we have to lose is a few minutes of our day – and that’s all it takes to maintain a SNS profile – it’s a small price to pay for understanding and future proofing our minds.