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Using Social Media to Better Communicate with Those We Lead: From Baby Boomers to Generation X and Y

Social media buttonsBy Dr. Sandra L. Torres

Leading across generations has never been as difficult or as easy as it is now thanks to the rapidly changing and growing volume of content that is created and consumed via technology, especially social media. And what an incredibly diverse media it is! Social media allows users to constantly interact with each other, which is completely unlike legacy media that allows little two-way contact. This interaction allows you to produce, consume and share content with an enormously divergent audience across a wide spectrum of experience. But do today’s leaders know how to deliver all this content creation?

Communicating Across Generations

Most of us believe that multiple generations can influence each other’s attitudes and beliefs and that it is possible for any one group to change the degree of social connectedness within that group. There are social and cultural differences among today’s generations, particularly in the use of communication technology; some use technology at higher rates than others. This means that people who lead multiple age groups should be able to communicate effectively across generations. Take the Baby Boomer generation as an example. It has dominated society’s cultural taste in music and fashion for decades, but what about communications?

Because the Boomer population (77.5 million) has held leadership positions for some time, it is especially critical that this group knows how to best communicate in today’s technological world. Although a high percentage of Boomers are anticipated to exit corporate America over the next five years, many are postponing their planned exit for economic reasons.

There are roughly 46 million Gen X-ers (born between 1964 and 1982) and Gen Y-ers (born between 1981 and 2000), also known as the Millennial Generation, to take their place. This means there are fewer potential leaders coming in to replace Boomers, which makes the impending Boomer brain drain an even greater concern for business.

This intensifies the importance of knowing how to communicate and transfer knowledge and social media is intergenerational communication’s most effective tool.


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