Monday, April 14, 2008

The Tatiana Project for Social Media and Generation Gaps

The power of blogs and commenting. A comment on Beth Kanter's blog last week yielded a couple of new conversations with other bloggers.

Now the Tatiana Senior Project has reached my virtual doorstep via my Facebook mailbox.

Hi, Clara!
How are you?

My name is Tatiana and I am currently a senior at the University of Tampa. You have recently commented on Beth Kanter's blog post that featured my project on the impact of the internet marketing of social media and its users.

You have a very interesting and unique perspective on this issue and I was wondering if your could share it on my blog and contribute to my project.

Tatiana's personal branding strategy is impressive. She has a regular blog and a project that communicate the online phenomenon about individual self-marketing, thoughtful research and writing.

Young people today, like Tatiana, are very cognizant of the web, and you could even say they definitely use it more intelligently than those of us who were weaned off of early AOL IM, chat or even intra net BBS green-type systems with MS DOS commands. I used to think I was of the privileged technology generation, able to code simple HTML on Geocities, but now it's really changing beyond that.

I would even go so far as to say that Tatiana's peers and college students are smarter about using the web than those of us who got used to the web tech in the 90s.

The differences between Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Me
In my peer group, some have heard of wikis, but most think of Wikipedia. Others may have a Facebook profile but avoid it like the plague because of spammy apps. Some use IM to communicate incessantly, but others don't. This is the group most likely to possess "information fatigue," because generically speaking, I've observed that we don't digest information as well as the younger crowd.

Too much internet information doesn't sit well with us, because we did grow up with our parents reading the local brand newspapers and magazines. My dad has stacks of the National Geographic and the San Jose Mercury that he refused to throw away.

We're a little bit harder to reach online. I still have friends who are very active on LiveJournal with very private profiles available to only a select few, while I prefer Facebook or IM. (More on social media hierarchies and usage soon.)

How Internet Media and Professional Profiles has Evolved
Gone are the days when profile surveys are sent in the form of email-chain-letter-forwards between friends. This evolved to LinkedIn professional profiles, then of course there were HR crises on MySpace where your boss finds your drunken pictures (thus giving social networks a bad rep). Now all that has moved outwards where some are pro-actively taking a stand on which pages show up on Google through blogs and the form of online portfolios. Now we've almost made the full circle to Geocities homepages, but instead of focusing on our hobbies or interest, like dogs, or random pictures and animated gifs, the web 2.0 era has a strong interest in aesthetic, design and professional image.

This means we've got a powerful advertising vehicle on our hands that could be tackled...or not. The questions to ask are: Which Audience and Which Type of Media?

1 comment:

Tatiana said...

Thank you so much for featuring my project on your blog!
I think for young people social media is an extension of their everyday lives. A lot of the older people I meet go online to find information on a particular topic or send emails. They still trust online newspapers and corporate websites more than they trust blogs. A lot of them also avoid social networks because of lack of privacy. In contras, young people use social media to share their pictures and videos, to blog about their dreams and passion, to share their ideas and to - often openly - communicate. In other words, they go online to show themselves off to the rest of the world. Now, when organizations and marketers enter social media and social networks, potential employers and college professors come along with them. Now, those who were freely communicating and sharing all that information about themselves can no longer do so. So, should organizations use social media and social networks as their marketing tools? Sure - this is where their audiences reside! But they also must be very careful not to interfere with the conversations unfolding online and not to intrude their audience's virtual but still private lives.