Five Reasons You Can’t Afford to Dismiss Facebook and Other Social Networks

By Marilynne Rudick on June 30, 2010

Since launching WebOver50, I’ve heard from a lot of Over50 friends. Their responses generally fall into two groups:

  • Group 1: This blog is great. Thanks for helping me get up to speed on social networking and other web tools.
  • Group 2: I don’t care what you say. I don’t use social networks,, and I don’t want to.

It’s gratifying to hear from Group 1. But I’m somewhat taken aback by the vehement reactions of Group 2. Just mentioning Facebook produces the visceral reaction I normally associate with words like Nazi. Even more puzzling, this reaction comes not from luddites, but from computer literate friends who swear by e-mail and use a variety of web programs and tools at work.

My quarrel isn’t with the decision not to use social networks. That’s a legitimate response to concerns about privacy, lack of time, or a preference for spending time with real friends, not virtual one. My concern is with people who dismiss social networking out-of-hand without really knowing what it’s about.

So this post is for Group 2. And since more than likely Group 2 isn’t reading WebOver50, please forward “Five Reasons You Can’t Afford to Dismiss Social Networking” to your Group 2 friends!

1. You’ll Become a Digital Dinosaur

New learning builds on existing learning. You’d like to go to med school, but you never took biology. You can go back and take the pre-med courses. But it’s a lot harder. Similarly, technology builds on existing technology. Web technology is a fast-moving train. If it leaves the station without you, chances are you’ll never get on board. Think about the people you know who never became computer literate or refused to use e-mail.  They’re left in the dust as technology and innovation evolve.

2. You Won’t Be Competitive in the Workplace

It’s hard enough to keep your job or find a new job if you’re Over50. if you’re not fluent in the latest web tools and technologies, you’re likely to be passed over for a job or promotion by a web savvy Under30. Like it or not, social networking tools are becoming basic job skills. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are nearly universal marketing tools.

Increasingly, social networking is used in organizations to help work teams in different locations communicate, share information, and solve problems. Walmart uses social networking to encourage associates to build relationships. The CIA uses social networks to exchange intelligence. Geneticists use social networks to share their researchEntrepreneurs use social networks to find venture capital.

3. You’ll Lose Your Political and Social Clout

By virtue of their sheer numbers, Over50s have had an inordinate amount of power. Over50s decide elections and define social trends. But increasingly politicians in all shades of the political spectrum are using social networking tools to communicate with their constituents and get feedback about important issues. Corporations cull blogs and Twitter to gauge consumer sentiment about new products and their brands. Had a hotel room with no view on a recent trip? Post a comment on a blog, or tweet about it. Chances are your complaint will get a response.

4.  You’ll Fall Into the Digital Divide

In the past, music and hairstyles divided generations. Social networking looms as the 21st century’s great divide. If you want to understand and communicate with your children or grandchildren, you have to  speak their language and understand their communication tools. The same goes for your Gen X and Y colleagues and bosses.

5. You’ll Get Old

Learning new things seems to be a key to staving off cognitive decline. What better way to stay mentally alert and socially with it than learning about and using social networking tools?

Learn More

Categories: Blogging, Facebook, Social Networking
Tags: , , , ,


  • Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you
    relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know
    what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog
    when you could be giving us something informative to read?

    Posted by: search on September 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

  • My dad loved his world wide web and he even grew to love Facebook. It was a great way to keep up with his kids and grandkids. To be honest, he could have used some lessons in etiquette and this is something that more seniors could also use. (Hey, I think I might blog about that.)

    We have covered the issue of Seniors online on one of our websites, here We also have a great video profile of s “senior new media mogul”

    Great post, Marilynne!

    Posted by: Top Retirement Homes on June 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

  • […] Five Reasons You Can’t Afford to Dismiss Social Networking […]

    Posted by: How Do Boomers and Seniors Use the Internet? on January 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

  • […] of great posts about social media for the older crowd.  Some of the most popular posts include Five Reasons You Can’t Afford to Dismiss Social Networking and Safe Social Networking: What Advice Should You Give Your Kids.  The site covers a variety of […]

    Posted by: For The Baby Boomers: WebOver50 Is Your Ultimate Social Media Resource on December 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

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