Silver surfers benefit from social media

Last year I gave a talk to the following up on their helpful support when the Diploma public relations students worked on a planning assignment that looked at how the charitable organisation could attract new and diverse members.

The focus of my argument last May was that the over 50s, in reality the main target group for membership, are changing, not least in terms of engaging with social media.  So good to see this backed up by a piece in the Telegraph reporting a survey that “silver surfers” spend an average of 6 hours online each week and that “41 per cent of retired Britons named internet usage as one of their favourite pastimes”.

I know of several retired people who read this blog, use Flickr and get Tesco to deliver their weekly shopping among other things.  As professional communicators, PR practitioners need to recognise the value of online media for reaching and engaging with older people.  This is particularly important for organisations such as the Lions where there is such brilliant, potential for low-cost communications.

I have yet to discover any UK Lions who are blogging – but there are a few active in the US.  Most of the Club websites are disappointing – with little evidence of linking into social media.  With millions of global members and a focus on community action (both fund-raising and supporting local and global projects), social media would be an ideal medium for this organisation.  I’m due to return for a workshop in the Spring – where I will show how easy it is to set up blogs and other social media tools.

You could say, I’m going to take the Lions to water and hope to show them how to drink.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Silver surfers benefit from social media”

  1. I think that silver surfers would love blogging, they would enjoy the interactivity. They could share experiences of different issues and learn so much, as well as making a new community of friends in blogosphere, as I have done.

  2. Absolutely – and for the Lions where the people are so genuine, using online to gain new members and communicate about their good work etc would be ideal. They have so much to talk about that is positive and traditional media doesn’t cover.

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