Back in My Day…

imageHow to alienate a tech-savvy teen in four short words; lead with “back in my day” and then proceed to invalidate each one of their preferred methods of communication, relationship management and information gathering strategies.

See, back in MY day we had a rotary dial phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen with a 25’ cord attached to the receiver. There was the inconvenience of long-toned busy signals when someone was on the phone. No call waiting. No text. No Interwebs.That was MY day. But it isn’t our kids’ day today. Students live, for the most part, online – whatever that might look like be it, good, bad or ugly. They don’t phone. I mean, who phones? But using a social network like Twitter intelligently and with purpose can yield remarkable results with future life influencers. Don’t phone them. There is no 25’ corded rotary telephone in the office of a person I admire and want to know more about so that I can understand how best to serve them. Chances are they’re mobile, too.

At a recent parent presentation, I had just illustrated step-by-step social media strategies that students can use to create a competitive edge when all else is equal on paper, and the social apps with which to best execute them. A parent remarked during this segment that the concepts were unrealistic, too much work and no student they knew would ever go to the trouble – what with hectic schedules, and all. Then came “back in my day.”

I have the distinct privilege of knowing a steadily growing number of students who are approaching their social apps and platforms as a springboard and resource to create and drive influence. And they are winning positions, placements and career opportunities. Not so many LOLz happening. None, in fact.

I believe that a healthy understanding and respect for online and offline life balance is critical and aspects of “back in my day” can certainly be applied and adapted to today’s connected lifestyles. But it shouldn’t be a starting point for baby boomers (and older) to try to effect behavioural change with today’s youth. Mayberry no longer exists. Rather, deeply and open-mindedly listening to the conversations that are happening, and their contexts, and trying out a few power apps and platforms is generally a sound way of 86ing “back in my day.”

See ya out on the Twitter.

Painting; Norman Rockwell’s “Facts of Life.”

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