Do you let ageism hold you back?

Pulling into the parking lot of Adster Creative at 7:00 a.m. there was a gigantic bag of ageism nerves dragging along with me.  I had entered a contest with Capital Ideas Edmonton to go to Calgary for the day to attend a live meeting of Google Partners.  When the friendly folks at Adster notified me that they had a space on the bus I was excited and the immediate answer was yes.  Then as the day approached, reality began to set in.  The fear monkeys in my head brought to my attention that I would most likely be one of the oldest if not the oldest on the bus.  And so the bag of nerves began to grow.  What if I had no clue what they were talking about and the entire day was a waste?  Worse yet, what if I opened my mouth and revealed that I didn't know what they were talking about by accident?  Come on, be honest.  If you have ever pushed the boundaries of your experience or knowledge you know the mantra the fear monkeys were chattering in the background.

I put the fear monkeys on a time-out, parked, and went to board the bus.  Because of what I hoped to learn, I was willing to be the oldest one on the bus for the day although if I had checked the bus driver's license he might have beat me out for the honour.  Soon we were off and the initial greetings from the Adster hosts included poking fun at forty year olds who call hash tags number signs.  If you read last week's blog, So What's Twitter?, you know that we had tried to explain Twitter to an eighty-year old and that I confessed to being called out by my children for calling hash tags pound signs.   I didn't mind the humour on the bus, it gave me a chance to laugh at myself and to think about the vastness of the digital divide between generations.

Apart from giving me the chance to laugh at myself, the trip was a learning experience.  It was a chance to sit at the feet of the thirty somethings for a day and inhale their energy and enthusiasm for what the digital world can do for businesses and organizations.  Along the way, I heard how the traditional marketing approach has been turned up side down and how Google is a database of intentions.  Basically, in simple language, when we use Google to search for information we provide the database with indications of what we intend to do or buy.  At our house we searched out Mediterranean cruises for several years before finally landing on the perfect one.  Every search we entered, contributed to the Google database of intentions indicating that we would most likely be prime candidates for any targeted advertising about cruises because we so obviously wanted to go on one.  We didn't just want to go on a cruise; we wanted to go on one to the Mediterranean.

When we first searched, we looked at itineraries for all Mediterranean cruises and slowly over time our searches became more focused on those that were in the central Mediterranean.  As we became more focused Google could have and most likely did provide that search pattern to the various cruise lines so they could understanding how their potential customers arrived at a purchasing decision.  Google could also aggregate that search information with other search patterns from our computer's address.  The immense database behind Google would have noted that between the cruise searches there were other searches for door hardware, windows, and plumbing fixtures.  A business that wanted to sell those goods or cruises would have had a pile of powerful information about us as a possible customer if they leveraged the information on Google.  This presents a monumental shift from the days of putting a huge ad in the newspaper and hoping that the people who wanted to buy cruises or hardware saw it and responded.  The Google presenter, Fabricio Dolan, shared that Canadians are using mobile devices more than desktop devices for our searches and that 41% of searches are goal oriented.  Every little bit I learned was eye opening.

It was a great day and I learned stuff.  Back home by the swake ageism doesn't exist.  We are soldiering laughing at ourselves when we call a hash tag a pound sign, and we are teaching Twitter to the octogenarian.  He is still camped out on the land and you might be inspired to know that within an hour of last weeks "So What's Twitter?" conversation he had a Twitter account set up and had followed his fifty-six year old son.  By week's end he had progressed from being an egghead on Twitter to having a photo and he learned how to search things.  This weekend for Father's Day, we want to get some followers for him @bcmonsma.  No trolls allowed because I really don't want to have to explain that to him just yet.  But if you like the idea that an eighty-year old is game to figure out Twitter send him a note wishing him a Happy Father's Day.  Sorry make that a tweet, not a note - showing my age again!


  1. ...and the mighty Google also helps Adster find those that are speaking about us. Great write up Joy - it was a pleasure to have you on board and this post even makes me more grateful you chose to join us! p.s. - I was one of the '40 year old number sign' folks I was referring to ;)


Post a Comment