Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.

Social Strategy; Or, Ageless Cool

Recently, Christina Binkley reviewed Pamela Redmond Satran’s “How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lamein the Wall Street Journal.

“I hadn’t realized that texting with one’s index finger is a sign of age,” she notes. “It also hadn’t dawned on me that it was possible to ‘Facebook old’ (or even to use Facebook as a verb).”

I’d argue that she’s conflating two different issues – one of age, but the other of technology immersion.

For example? I am not a 23-year-old hipster. So I don’t use “phat” or “sick” or “dope”. Because it’d sound ridiculous. * ** So yes, some things are age-specific, or at least lifestyle-specific.

But if you can’t use technology smoothly, while that often does come with being older, I don’t think it’s causal. You don’t automatically age out of modern communication. Social media is not Menudo.

For an extremely awesome example, check out this lady – Marjorie Loyd, 98, on Facebook. And one of the most knowledgeable people I know about social media is my thesis advisor, Fordham graduate school dean and TV addict, Paul Levinson – who, while many decades short of “old”, is at least definitely not a 23-year-old hipster.

So yeah. “Too old” isn’t a reason. It’s an excuse. If you’re not bothering to stay current, it’s not your age, it’s your choice.

* Um, also because “phat” hasn’t been cool for, like, a million years.

**And yes, Jillian, I know it’s not “hipsters,” it’s “members of the downtown art scene”.


Patricia O'Donnell

I read a very funny article at the hair salon recently on “How not to appear Old”.
1. Don’t wear a watch. Especially a big, expensive one. Check the time on your cell phone.
2. Never cook a pot roast for guests.
3. Do not yell into your cell phone.
4. If you work with young people, never bring donuts to the office.
5. Don’t ever ask, what is a tweet?
6. Never tell a story that is over ten years old.

There were many more but because I’m old, I forget.
And I’m guilty of all of the above.


This is more of a technology comment than social media comment…but I agree that it’s not an age factor but a personal preference factor. We run alot of Web-based educational programs. The traditional logic was that younger people would tend to participate more than older people. In running reports of attendee demographics, we found that more “older” (re: over 45) have participated, so obviously, they’re not as afraid of modern technology as some would believe.

Plus, when it comes to things like Facebook, I hear every day how grandparents are now users, and parents, and more mature individuals like ourselves, much to the dismay of all those “phat” high school kids, I’m sure 🙂

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