Attention Generation Y: Please share Facebook with your Mom

by Rich DeMatteo on October 20, 2009 · 8 comments

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Life can change drastically in just 4 years.  In 2005 I had graduated from college, started my first “big boy” job as a recruiter, was living life with two healthy shoulders, my metabolism was in excellent shape, and my Mom was no where to be found on Facebook.  Flash forward 4 years to 2009 and see how much has changed.  In December I’ll graduate with Masters degree, will soon be starting my third “big boy” job, my right shoulder has gone through two surgeries in as many years, my metabolism is winning a game of hide-and-go-seek, and these days my Mom checks her Facebook daily.  OK, so your metabolism stayed the same, but I bet you a quarter your Mom is on Facebook too.

Attention Generation Y:  Please share the road

I have absolutely no problem with my Mom, your Mom, or anyones Mom being on Facebook (I actually think it’s great), just want to get that out of the way.  Those of us in Generation Y just needed a few weeks, or months to get used to our older relatives joining our party.  For what has felt like years, us Gen Y folk have been poking our friends on Facebook and denying Tom’s friendship on MySpace.  We were, and still are kings of social media, but it’s now undoubtedly time to share the road.  A video I posted previously stated the Social Media Revolution has arrived.  Here are some FB facts from the video:

  • Facebook added 100 million users in 9 months
    • The internet needed 4 years to reach 50 million
  • If Facebook was a country it would be the 4th largest
  • The fastest growing population on Facebook are 55-65 year old females

Now that is a lot of Moms.

Attention College Students:  Watch what you post on Facebook

Facebook used to be one big party, and colleges caught on quickly.  Many schools punished underage students for posting pictures of them drinking or acting inappropriately.  Not all schools were strict, and I’m sure many didn’t enforce policies, but corporate america took things a bit more seriously.  When companies began utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool, they also used Facebook to screen out students who posted inappropriate pictures.  Legal or not, it was happening.  Graduating students began monitoring what they posted and what was being said on their walls.  Problem solved, right?  Just when students felt safe, in comes a friend request from Mom, Dad, and Uncle Buck.  Is the party off, Wayne?  No, but with Facebook and social media growing so fast I’d suggest to monitor what’s being posted.  You can never be sure how many, but most importantly who’s eyes are watching.

Attention Baby Boomers: Welcome to the party

You had to know that eventually older generations would catch on.  When Facebook opened up its membership to anyone (not just colleges and schools), it became evident that it was just a matter of time.  There are many Boomers utilizing social media that possess excellent technical skills and were already using sites like LinkedIn.  The second group of Baby Boomers on FB have zero technical ability and have never utilized any form of social media.  The second group I talked about surprises me a bit more, my Mom falls into that category.  But I’m glad she and others in her generation are signing up.  Many Boomers plan to work a bit longer than they initially expected.  Keeping connected with their network will remain important and social media will help them maintain relationships with co-workers, old friends, and really anyone they’d like to contact.  Welcome to the party Boomers, but watch the ‘poking’, we don’t want you spending any time in jail.

What have we learned?

Hopefully we’ve learned that Facebook is a complete beast in social media.  The importance of social media for all generations will continue to increase.  Baby Boomers will continue to sign up for Facebook, and maybe one day you’ll receive a friend request from your mom, too.  If its odd to you at first, just think on the bright side.  Someone will always like your status.

Questions for you:

  • What are your thoughts on the generational use of social media?
  • If you used social media four or give years ago, have you changed the way you use it?
  • Which social media site do you use most?
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8 comments
Monica O'Brien
Monica O'Brien

My parents are on Facebook, and it's cool. I guess it doesn't phase me because I'm really open with them anyway - they know I used to drink and party, etc. I feel like it's this way for most of Gen Y. I think it's funny that you don't mention Gen X - Those are the serious power users of the site, IMO. Fun post!

Jonathan Hyland
Jonathan Hyland

I've always seen Facebook as a really great tool to connect with friends and keep your social circle aware of what you're doing; no more, no less. Personally, that's how I use it. Facebook, however, is a platform for a lot of things and it's been an interesting ride seeing the service evolve from 2005ish to what it is today. I agree with your assessment, Rich, that college students are the ones that need to be careful. It's relatively easy to tweak privacy settings so few people (if any) can view those incriminating photos; it all comes down to common sense and having the personal chutzpah to know who you are and how you want to be perceived by not only your peers, but other social groups as well.

Sharalyn Hartwell
Sharalyn Hartwell

Excellent points, Rich. We can all be one big happy Facebook family if everyone is honest with themselves and what is likely going to happen. If you post pictures or reference that crazy drunken night in your status, of course your mom or other relative is going to comment. If everyone just realizes what is likely going to happen, then it is no big deal--we call all play well in the sandbox called Facebook. Great thoughts...hope your mom is adapting. My dad is certainly trying! ;) p.s. LOVE the t-shirt, I literally started laughing! ;)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Lorraine, thanks for the response. When I wrote it I started to wonder how the X'ers would feel considering that I didn't hit on them much, or even at all in the article. I think my main focus in the article was stressing how Baby Boomers will be retiring soonest, so this new love for social media networking will become increasingly important. But don't worry, I welcome any new Gen X's to the party as well. It was just more of quick little shock to see the Boomers jump right in and perform social media keg stands.

Lorraine Ranalli
Lorraine Ranalli

Great article, as always, Rich. But this gen X'er is feelin' a bit left out. ...we're always in the Baby Boomers' shadows and lost on the millennials. jk Seriously, though, some X'er or Boomer created the venue for that party you guys enjoyed for such a long time. So thank an old-schooler next time you see him/her. :-)

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Monica - thanks for the comment! Looking forward to checking out your blog. When writing the post I did leave out Gen X, and I guess that's because my post focused more around me and my story focusing in on my BabyBoom parents. Since starting my career I've been working with Gen X'ers who really have been a part of of my connections on social media from the beginning, but my babyboom co-workers and parents were not. X'ers were left out of this post, but they are certainly not left out of social media. Without the brilliant minds of Gen X I'm not sure social media sites would be where they are today. Thanks, Monica! Hope to hear from you again soon!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Jonathan, thanks for your comment! It certainly has been fun watching the evolution of Facebook (as well as other similar sites) since 2005. They all seem to lean on each other, borrowing ideas and building to their own! Hopefully people do take advantage of privacy settings available, especially students that are enjoying their coming of age experiences! I agree with you, it boils down to a couple of C's when using social media. Common sense and chutzpah. Well said!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

I love how you reference Facebook as a big sandbox! Great way to think about it. I agree, people need to monitor how much they share about themselves. By this point, if people are posting edgy things, then they are really asking for trouble. Or possibly, they just want the attention. Either way, I think college students need to be the most careful. Looking forward to giving thanks soon to erase the negative view we've somehow built for our fellow Gen Y's!