This past weekend our team had the pleasure of presenting social media strategy/practices at the Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference (#CornellCALC). Throughout the weekend there was the enevitable interaction with alums who didn’t see any reason why they should be on Twitter, or why Twitter is necessary at all.
During the seven hour voyage back to Ithaca, I found myself pondering additional ways to make the older generations understand the power that exists at their fingertips. That led me down the path of considering what Tweets would have looked like from some of history’s most iconic characters. Even more interesting is what could have been avoided had Twitter been around over the past 2,000 years? Hmmmm…..
@Hail_Caesar: Looking forward to presenting news ideas for the Republic w/ @Brutus at today’s Senate session
Thur 15 March 12:37pm
@JC_Messiah: I’m at the last supper! (w/12 others) @4sq.com/D2rTLY
Tue 26 April 6:45pm
@Wampanoag_Chief: Great #Thanksgiving dinner with @pilgrims! I think we forged a friendship that will enrich us all for centuries to come.
Sun 21 November 4:23pm
@Blacksmith_Paul: Giving the horse a rest tonight, but you should be aware that the British are coming. #invasion
Mon 18 April 12:00AM
Aloha_Fisher: 10 miles out bringing in the nets and just snapped this pic of Japanese fighter planes. #trouble pic.twitter.com/Hr8J2k
Sun 7 December 5:37AM
@DallasDan: There’s a secret service agent on the grassy knoll with a serious rifle, though he’s not dressed very officially. Must be undercover… #JFKparade
Fri 22 November 12:15pm
@KentST_Kate: Campus rally is getting intense! #Ohio Nat’l Guard moving in but we’re not backing down! #callingtheirbluff #flowerpower
Mon 4 May 11:45am
@Re_Elect_Nixon: @WatergateHotel Is there a good place to get flashlight batteries within walking distance?
Sat 17 June 3:37am
@AIG_Lender: I’m not a stock market whiz, but I’m starting to think some of these mortgages I’m approving might have global ramifications… #BurstBubble
Wed 17 September 3:34pm
You get the idea. For those who like to use the excuse “why should I be on twitter? I don’t have anything to say.”, it’s important to make them understand that the ability to listen to tweets is probably more important than the ability to create them. Keep in mind the experience level for many of these people doesn’t go beyond seeing what their grandchildren post. I don’t doubt 16 year-olds have the occasional worthy insight, but for the most part they’re not going to extend themselves past posting pics of the nasty cafeteria food being served that day.
This past weekend I sat down with a Cornell class of ‘71 alumnus who didn’t see any reason why he should be on twitter. After a few quick questions, I learned he’s interested in the financial world. So, I opened my laptop, brought up the twitter homepage, and in seconds brought him fact-to-face with tweets from Warren Buffett. After reading some of WB’s tweets and clicking the links he posted, this skeptical alumnus instantly understood the power of the micro-blog.
Teaching social media 101 is no easy tasks considering how quickly the landscape can change. However, half the battle is relevant content to debunk the “why should I care where so-and-so is eating dinner tonight?” rhetoric. Regardless of their age, the ability to access intriguing content and information in real-time will push pretty much anyone into taking that first step into the deep unknown.