Am I Too Old For This?

Possibly the most famous advertising headline in history starts “They laughed when I sat down at the piano…”

Sometimes I get a similar reaction when I break out my smart phone to check Facebook or post a tweet.  Well, they don’t laugh (out loud, anyway) but the looks on some younger faces reflects a level of incredulity and my older peers just shake their heads and mutter something about trying to recapture my youth.  It seems a widely held opinion that a 60-something has no business in the realm of social media.

Actually, statistics show that Facebook is garnering quite a following among the more “mature” audience.  I can’t help but think that Pinterest is probably going to catch on as well.  Seniors still in the workforce, especially those in executive capacities, are drawn to LinkedIn.  Twitter seems to still appeal more to a younger audience.

I recently did a communications presentation for church leadership, introducing many of them to social media.  The reception was a little lukewarm until I pointed out that they have to stay in touch with their congregations and they have to do it in a way that is relevant and valid in today’s culture.  Mailing out printed bulletins still works, but it’s expensive and many members prefer their information delivered in a digital format with flexibility for frequent updates.  Blogs, Facebook pages, email and texting are becoming very popular because that’s the way people communicate.  Some of them even admitted they had learned – out of self-defense – to text, while others just complained that conversation was a dying art and what’s wrong with TALKING on a phone?  Isn’t that what they’re for?!?!?

I went away not convincing everyone, but it certainly made them start thinking.  Hopefully they’ll eventually warm to the idea.

I’d also like to get folks in the ag community to start thinking about digital communication as well.  Lauren Chase, media coordinator with the Montana Stockgrowers Association has mentioned more than once that she’d like to get more of her members involved in Social Media. I keep telling her that peer example is the best method.

So, here’s where I appeal to you.  Are you or do you know someone who’s over, say, 55 (and willing to admit it) and is using Facebook and Twitter or is writing a blog?  You don’t have to be a “power user,” just the occasional post.  I’d like to hear from you.  I’d like to have some examples of veteran farmers and ranchers who, like me, think it’s important to share their story.

I want to show folks that it’s not that hard, it doesn’t require an unreasonable amount of time and you might just find you enjoy doing it.

What do you say?  There’s a lot of wisdom out there that needs to be shared.  Will you help me try to open those lines of communication?  Send me an e-mail at and let’s start the conversation.


About raybowman

church of Christ elder, farmer, grandad, agriculture writer and broadcaster

Posted on May 26, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I’m using Facebook. It does take me longer than my 13 year old daughter to use my smartphone, but I’m learning. I take my “store cards”, like my Kroger card, to the store on my iphone, and usually the clerk at the cash register wants to know what app I’m using for it. I use the calendar and reminder alarms daily while teaching, as I have to keep track of intervention times, and reading group times for my students, and I can’t seem to do it without the alarms.
    My smartphone is the camera, audio recorder, and tuner for instruments that is always in my hand when I need it. I keep track of where family is, and when I need to ba available to help them with it. I can check the weather instantly, and watch when storms are nearing our locale.
    Seems like a good technology to me.
    Alice White

  2. Excellent, Ray. The other tact to sail with is to point out to the older generation that they have the financial horsepower to equip the younger generation and the time to help train/take them to training (it used to be called mentoring). How many young people would love and benefit from an Iphone and an unlimited plan, and the oversight of an adult, but can’t afford it or when they get it have no use for it but self centered things? I ask the older generation to find a grand child, a 4h’r, an intelligent student in church, and invest in them. Set some limits and expectations, get them to some training events, and help them understand the messages that need to be out there. Mentoring is a win win.

  3. Ray-

    You do a wonderful job of “leading by example” and I thank you for your efforts. You are never too old to try new things!


  4. I can only imagine that a mere generation ago the same hmmfs were voiced about them fool automatic telephony gadgets, and that “folks wer a putin em” in there houses. Lazy, just to lazy to hitch the buggy and ride for only a couple hours to the neighbors to catch up with whats a goin on. Younguns were too uppity, always a wantin ta know other folks business, just tomfoolery and it will never last. That montra still bleeds a bit today as my generation gets to the 55+ side of things. Why do we need change, it’s enough to know the body is showing the signs of change, and momma earth is a changing. What I don’t like is change of my prized material possessions. I like a good wooden pencil, one I can sharpen with my good old pocket knife, and my Timex, the one with actual hands and a nifty little light for nighttime viewing convenience and yeah I know there is a digital clock on my android, but it’s in its holster and my watch is on my wrist! I like my flip top cell for talking, yet I do like my android for texting and checking weather radar, so cool. However, I don’t want to see icons on everything I touch, what happened to the printed english language, why show me a stick figure when a word will do? Did not the human population evolve away from cave drawings and hieroglyphics? My 18 year old son, the carnivore, reminds me regularly how old and out of touch I am, that all i need to know is just give it here Dad and tappy-tap, there, ugghh, you are so with it Dad. NOT! He reminds me often that telling him what he did wrong is not helping, what helps is good directions. For my next blog, “How not to teach an 18 year old, male, hormone containment facility, how to back a trailer with only your mirrors! I suppose Mr. Ray, our generations would benefit most if we were to mentor each other, using maturity and kind direction, vs how to download a code reader app with 4 taps or less, the introductory offer, hormones included. Or is that just tomfoolery?

    • Tom, you might just want to start your own blog – call it Tomfoolery! Agree completely on the mentoring aspect. Digital mentoring sounds like a great direction for me to go with this.
      Thanks – All the Best!

  5. Ray, My mom is a regular Facebooker so I asked her to read this & let me know what she thought. She said “Good post – I use FB to keep up with my kids and grandkids most of whom are out of town. I haven’t gotten in to a lot of the other technology but I know a lot of over 60’s who have.”

  6. Well I am 53…but emphatize with this post. Love facebook for sharing personal journey as well as promoting sustainable agriculture and farm-to-table recipes/lifestyle through my blog Hootsuite is a great tool to manage twitter and fb at the same time. Twitter produces less traffic, but the interaction seems more spontanious and genuine than fb. As for pinterst, it surely drives traffic but for me it seems like a clunky interface.

    Social Media here in the mountains of KY keeps us connected with the outside world…and indeed keeps us connected within the mountain community….especially during diasters like floods and tornadoes.

    Now will someone teach me how to work my new mobile phone? Giggles

  7. Hope to see you soon, Joyce – we can work on that phone learning curve!;^)

  8. I am 53 and on my website besides blogging I have over 55 podcasts posted. is my website,
    twitter is @billgraff

    I also use hootsuite and follow twitter all the time on my iphone. I also believe many farm organizations need to do a better job with smart phone apps. Corn growers need to use some of their check off dollars and get an E-85 app that works so I can find E85 for my flex fuel vehicle when I travel outside of Iowa or Illinois.

    I also follow a crop scout/soil/conservation consultant on twitter that really helps me manage my crop acres. We have also used facetime to let another person view what we are seeing either helping us with computer/auto steer issues to uses as varied as looking at cattle. My wife has an ipad that goes just about everywhere with her.

    Many rural/agricultural people are missing out and not maximizing what they could with the technological tools available to all of us. Just because you are old does not mean you cannot use all the tools available to you.

  9. I think everyone has to find their own motivation for joining. I signed up for Facebook in 2007, as a 30 year old, in order to stay in touch with the kids who had been in our youth group and were in far-flung college locales. Over time, everyone else I knew joined, too, and now it’s my most favorite way to keep up with friends from down home, friends from college and colleagues across the country. A tremendously large percentage of our country church membership is on FAcebook, too – including many over 55 – and many of them joined a couple years ago when our pastor died and a page was created in his memory. So that was their motivation – to see what everyone else was talking about – and now it’s become a great place to share our daily triumphs and struggles. Lots of different people, lots of different motivations.

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