If 91 year old Mavis from Mudgee can do it…

My grandmother, who passed away just a couple of months ago, was a late-comer to ‘new media’. But at the age of 95 she was teaching computers to the ‘oldies’ in her village. She used to dazzle us by insisting she had the latest software, reeling off features like a car fanaticist would engine parts. I took her along with me inside the online virtual world Second Life  for a Christmas party once. She wasn’t fazed by the presence of avatars controlled by people all around the world, or how we could fly around, she just thought the girls were inappropriately dressed for the snow. But companies had a hard time understanding that she was a real person. She was kicked out of her online banking because the administrators didn’t believe her age. They thought they had outsmarted an automated program trying to access the account. She wasn’t a robot, she was my granny.

I like to relate these stories to people who claim that it is not possible to learn technology when you’re older, or that young people are the only ones who understand it. Both of these assumptions are simply not true. I know plenty of young people who don’t have a clue about the diversity of things on the Net (yes, really!). People, markets and communities cannot be segmented according to their age or geography anymore. But that is rant for another time. My point is that just because someone is ‘young’ doesn’t mean they understand technology any better and conversly that the ‘oldies’ don’t have anything to teach us. Here are two examples of ‘oldies’ doing online marketing better than many:

THE ZIMMERS

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The Zimmers are well-known across cyberspace because of the content sells itself. But their sites are also well managed: they’re even getting ‘consumers’ to ‘participate’ by asking everyone for ideas on what songs to record for their album. How can you contribute? On their forum of course! This isn’t just some company (BBC) pulling all the strings though. Alf is ‘geriatric1927’ on Youtube and he did a preliminary vlog about the upcoming music video a while ago. In the video he refers you to their myspace, the motivations behind creating the song, the need to have a short vlog and so on. He’s aware of technology and the culture surrounding it:

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SEWING 101

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Now this is Mavis from Mudgee Australia. I came across Mavis from a post at videomarketingcoach about a talk presented by Carol Solomon. It is just great the way Mavis tells us about her work, the ebooks we can download etc. I am so impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of having a video introduction that I’ll be putting one on my bio site. Thanks Mavis.

Check out Mavis’ site: http://www.i-sewing.com/

Looks like the elders of the village are back, and they’re in cyberspace. 🙂