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Grandmas and Twitter

If I’ve learned one thing about Twitter, it is once the press thinks they’ve discovered the next best thing, the PR is more or less taken care of for free.

Just this past week I had to explain to a group of 70-year-old women what Twitter was and why everyone at the local coffee shop was tuned in. My answer was quick: Twitter is like walking into a room of a thousand strangers all talking to each other and finding common ground with a select few. Sure you could walk around the room just blurting things out until someone stopped you, but that’s now how conversation works. Instead it is a two-way dialogue that requires each participant to bring value to.

The old ladies said they kind of got it, but weren’t sure why people needed to know all that.

So I tried another one. I asked them when they were young how they kept tabs on their friends. “We would see them at school and then after school sometimes,” they responded. I then asked them how they kept in touch with their grandchildren if they had any. “Email, our kids blog, and of course traveling to see them,” they quickly answered.

“So you enjoy looking online to stay in touch because you don’t want to miss something?” I asked back.

“Of course! We don’t want to miss their first step or word.”

“There you go that is what Twitter is like, yet it’s less personal. People are turning to the room to find people to enrich their lives and keep in touch, and most are scared they will miss something life-shattering so they always tune in.”

“So my grandson could twitter?” one asked.

“Sure.”

“Now that’s scary,” she quietly pondered.

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