Monday, April 02, 2007

Mind the "Gap"

A thought occurred to me today, as thoughts are wont to do.

I have seen so many things in the news lately about organizations that are “aging” and can’t seem to attract new members. Groups like the Lions Club, the Moose Lodge, the VFW, and local “hobby” type groups are all getting older and having a hard time attracting members. Up until this point, I’ve totally bought into their line that people are just too busy these days and they aren’t interested in joining these groups.

But I love groups like this! I love reading about groups like this! I would enjoy at least investigating the possibility of joining groups like this!

And when are they meeting????

At noon on a Monday, or perhaps its 2 pm on a Thursday, or 12:45 on a Tuesday; in other words, they meet at times that are only conducive to the unemployed/retired.

Heck! My kid’s school PTA meetings are at 8 a.m on a weekday. Can you tell me what kind of a message that sends? “Sorry ma’am, but since you actually have to work for a living, you can’t be involved in your kid’s school.” And then what is the biggest complaint that teachers and school administrators have about parents? That they aren’t involved in their kid’s school!

Is it a generation gap? Or is it an idiot gap? Is it the complete inability of one “group” of people realizing that not everyone is just like them? It’s one thing to be young and ignorant, it’s another thing to be older and totally divorced from every single generation but your own. Ignorance can be educated, stupidity is steadfastly recalcitrant.

I went to a seminar on Friday and we were talking about free advertising and we started talking about blogs. There were three women in there that were in their forties or fifties that were totally oblivious to what a blog was. They had internet access but didn’t know what a blog was. Now, I know that we all get out entertainment in different ways and not everyone’s ways are my ways (Will Farrell and Adam Sandler are two screaming examples of that fact), but perhaps you actually READ A NEWSPAPER? LOOK AT HEADLINES ON THE “NEWS” PAGE OF YOUR EMAIL PROVIDER? LISTEN TO A RADIO? I have at least read the word “blog” in all of these places. I think the people in the seminar who were twenty-five or younger actually had a little anal leakage when one of the women said “I don’t know that word ‘the blog’”.

The youngsters in the room shifted uncomfortably and I had an ahhh-haaaa! moment. This is why the Moose Lodge or the Lions Club or the Garden Club or whatever else club in Anytown USA has their meetings during the daytime, during the week.

If you want your group to die a long and painful death, keep doing what you’re doing.
If you actually want to appeal to the younger generation, you have to stretch a little, you have to learn something new, and you have to go out of your way to get us to stop, shut-up, look, and finally listen.

And maybe you can learn to use the system of tubes that the internets is…

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