40(ish) And The Digital Donut Hole

Josh Spector had this insight specifically about near 40-somethings (maybe 5-10 years in either direction around that age too):

40-year-olds look up (in age) to people who succeeded in a pre-social media world, and down to people who succeeded in a post-social media everywhere/everything world. Worst of all, they don’t feel comfortable in either world.

I know it hits home for me (and clearly him), so I’m guessing this hits home for some of you too.

The people ahead of us didn’t need it to succeed. The people behind us have used it to aid in their success. And when we personally try it on for size, it feels like we’re in dad’s suit or trying to look cool in skinny jeans. Just like fashion, the hard part is figuring out what works for us.

This insight is helpful for people working with near 40-year-olds too. They’re not quite digital natives, so they’ll have a skewed view and different comfort zone than the boomer who only adopted the platforms to stay somewhat relevant and the gen z’er who has had a cell phone since middle school.

If you’re 40 (or 36 or 52 or 87!) and still trying to figure out what role social media will or will not play in your future success you’re not alone.

So, my real question is this – what are you doing about it? If it feels weird but you’re doing it anyway, how and why? And, what’s working for you? Send me an email and let me know.

2 thoughts on “40(ish) And The Digital Donut Hole

  1. This is something I think about a lot, how social media fits into business at any age. There was an article in the Times yesterday about 20-somethings with millions of followers who are having serious mental health issues because the demands of their TikTok careers are too burdensome and the thrill of fame has worn off (to which I say, duh, but that topic is an entirely different conversation). These youngsters were preceded by slightly older “influencers” on Instagram who experienced the same fatigue and left. As a 52 year old Gen-Xer who didn’t get her first cellular flip phone until the age of 32 and only joined Facebook in 2005 to reconnect with old friends, I quickly realized its potential for creating and connecting to new, and existing, clients.

    And, while Facebook is seen by so many as the platform for old fuddy duddies, I’ve cultivated a truly “social” (not salesy) environment there that has become the foundation of my successful art business. When I talk to other people about this my thoughts are that first, it’s important to define “success.” I don’t have a million followers and I’m not sure if that number would even fit into the way my business functions. Generally speaking, as long as my standard of living remains the same with organic growth, that feels right–to ME. Second, one needs to think about how much time they want to put into social media. This conversation comes up a lot in artist forums because there are so many “experts” out there giving courses on how to increase followers, how to make the best posts, etc. While some of that advice is good, a lot of it is just that horrible hype and exists merely to sell that particular “course.” How often should one post? As much as one needs to connect with her audience in an effective way. And, by the way, if that is hiring a marketer to create branded content, that works too. I just know that’s not me.

    Over 20 years ago I did one of my first art exhibits. I met a woman (now a dear friend of mine) whose art was in the same genre as mine; I was drawn to it and to her. The way she presented her work, too, was magnetic, as was her personality. Mind you, this was the early aughts and in-person, but even then, we all had basic web sites and hers was branded, just like her art, her business cards and even like her and her clothing. I looked at her prices and gasped silently to myself. Would I ever be able to get that much for a painting? After a while, as we got friendly, I asked her how her shows went for her with such “high” pricetags. She chuckled and said, well, I only have to sell one.

    In the end, the platform, the number of posts, the day/hour of the posts…. all of that is up to the individual who is curious and aware enough to use that information to effect her business in a desirable way. She can make up the rules as she goes a long and I think that needs to fit into who we are as humans. For me, it’s quality first, not quantity. The platforms are there to experiment with and then it is up to us to find the one(s) that feels right.

    1. Thanks for sharing Dar – I love this. I saw that article too and it’s a good reminder of why everything you’ve figured out is so necessary. We get to choose where we spend our time and on what, so staying curious (not complacent) and aware (of ourselves and others) is the only to make sure we get a return on that spend.

      ps. On the “enough” concept – I use the story from the beginning of this post all the times when talking to people about it

      https://cultishcreative.com/how-much-is-enough-2/

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