#SMWChicago Rewind: How 6 Different Generations Use Technology [WATCH]

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Last year at Social Media Week Chicago, six generations of people with completely different lifestyles and perceptions of technology came together to answer questions and discuss social media and technology.

Ben Foster of Ketchum, and six speakers ranging from ages 18—91, dove deep into what they like and don’t like about social media, and compared how those tastes varied across generations.

The speaker breakdown:

  • Ellen (18 Years Old): “The High Schooler”
  • Alex (21 Years Old): “The College Student”
  • Max (25 Years Old): “The Young Professional”
  • Kate (34 Years Old): “The Busy Mom”
  • Jim (61 Years Old): “The Experienced Professional”
  • Evelyn (91 Years Old): “The Retiree”


In an article on Ketchum’s blog, Foster laid out his three takeaways from the discussion.

1. Create Cool Content Not Annoying Ads

It’s the year 2015 and I am amazed that this is still a relevant takeaway. For some reason, brands continue to create ads that annoy people. Evelyn said, “You know what I do when I see an ad? I find the ‘X’ and I click it.” When I asked the panelists the most memorable thing they’ve seen a company do, their answers were all about engaging content. IMPACT: Stop Making Annoying Ads and start selling through content.

2. Privacy Is Critical

Every panelist was really concerned about privacy, but for very different reasons. The Busy Mom was concerned about posting her kids photos online while The College Student was concerned about her peers sharing for validation. The Young Professional remembered when his parents forced him to be friends with them so that they could monitor what was going on. IMPACT: Privacy isn’t just for adults. All ages are aware and thinking about it.

3. Technology Should Save Us Time

One of my favorite moments came at the very end where The Retiree warned us all that technology is taking over our lives. I loved what The Busy Mom said about using a grocery-shopping app so that she can spend more quality time with her children. IMPACT: If you’re designing technology, your goal should be to free up people to spend time with those they love.

SMW Staff

SMW News, Social Media Week


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