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COLIBRI in D.C.

COLIBRI here, reporting from Washington, D.C. France turned out to be professionally rewarding as I met with a variety of people and learned about how the French view social media. I made business contacts I will tell you about as they develop. After a very full two weeks in France, I flew in from Paris on Thursday and immediately launched into a meeting to prepare for my presentation on Friday. One thing you should know: being an international woman of business is as tiring as it is fun. Jet lag and nerves over the presentation made for a not great sleep that first night back in the States.

Fortunately, the presentation went well. About 20 people showed up to hear about programing and technology for people with early memory loss. I was nervous at first, but once I got rolling it was really fun to talk about the benefits of yoga (an ancient technology), and how yoga can help everyone live better. I also spoke about social media and the role of (modern) technology in helping older adults live autonomous, connected lives.

Today is, of course, Saturday and I spent the whole day focused on social media and how older adults are using it and how people marketing to older adults can use social media and a strong web presence to attract older consumers. Just so you know, there are 78 million baby boomers. They are aging. Make sure your products and services take them into account. Or, better yet, if you are one of the 78 million, celebrate your role in shaping US culture and economics!

Conferences are a lot of fun. I used to work for the the American Society on Aging (ASA) doing fund raising and, of course, organizing the conference and helping make it a success. ASA is the largest professional conference in the US focused on professionals in the field of aging. Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and I know that I will come away, as usual, feeling inspired and connected to the field of gerontology.

I love older adults and I regret that our society doesn’t honor aging the way that it could (and should?). As a middle aged woman, I hope that I can embrace the aging process and enjoy my later years as I am enjoying my life right now. I also have a deep respect for the people who work with and on behalf of older adults. They are heroes in a culture that adores youth and fears death.

As an entrepreneur I was reassured that there is indeed a lot of room for me to connect my education and experience working with older adults with my social media business. Over 85% of people 65 and older have mobile phones. They are also using Facebook and other social media to stay connected with their families, often because grand children have taught them how to get online. In a world where families are often distanced, it is heart warming to think that social media can bring joy and intergenerational connection.

Personally, I hope that you will check out the ASA website and also consider your feelings about aging. Professionally, I hope that you will consider the needs of older adults when you consider your products and marketing. I believe these considerations will make a big difference for you both personally and professionally.

Next week, COLIBRI reports once again from San Francisco, CA. Now it’s your turn. Let me know what topics you are interested in and I will address them in the coming weeks.

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