September 1, 2011, 2:14 PM

Since when is 30 old?

Stefany Moore

Research Analyst

These last two weeks I’ve felt old and out of touch for the first time in my life. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m turning 30 tomorrow—thank you very much. It has to do with my growing impression that twenty-something’s are running the social marketing show for retailers, and I’m having a hard time keeping up.

It started the other day when 24-year-old Bridget Johnson over at fashion accessories retailer One Click Ventures was catching me up on the latest tools for marketing through social networks she and her 24-year-old cohort Sarah Ellis have been trying out.

Apparently, she tells me, Klout Score can determine how influential particular shoppers are in a retailer’s social network, can tell retailers generally how their Twitter followers are feeling about them at any given moment, and Ravel Internet Marketing Tools can tell a retailer which of its fans are the most likely to share information about its products.

It sounds cool but, poor Bridget, I had to stop her mid-sentence about six times. “Wait, can you start over?” I asked. “Explain to me what a Klout Score is again please?” Or, “Hold on, you mean to tell me that retailers are actually finding out information about their Twitter followers and then actually carrying on conversations with these people if they are influential enough?” And, of course, my go-to favorite, “Can you talk a bit slower?”

Same thing goes for my conversion with Jon West, the founder of web-only niche merchant 3tailer LLC, who is launching a social commerce platform that integrates conversion tracking. I would imagine it’s a pretty valuable tool for the retailers who are constantly telling me they don’t know what their sales from social media outlets are because it’s too hard to measure. But after I had to ask Jon, “Wait, what is a URL shortener again?” and, “Can you talk in plain English for me please?” I knew the guy had to be in his twenties. And so I asked him that, too. 27 it turns out.

I’m one of the younger writers here at Internet Retailer. I’m on Facebook and YouTube quite a bit, dabble on Twitter and do my best to keep up with the latest from Google +1, Foursquare and the rest.  So you’d think if there was anybody down with the social media lingo it would be me. Let’s just say I’m glad it’s my colleague Zak Stambor that is tasked with the social marketing beat and not myself, because the last few times I’ve talked with twenty-something’s about Twitter I feel like my mother must when she asks me—for the seventh time—how to attach a photo to an e-mail or where to the find the show she just recorded on Tivo.

Keep up the good work, guys, because it’s beyond fun to hear about what you’re coming up with. I just hope I can keep up. And, when you’re talking to retailers about your services, remember that some of them are likely to be over 30. So talk slow.

Comments | 2 Responses

  • When you're 16, 15 looks young. When you're 30, 20 looks old. When you're finally reconciled to being a grown up, around 35 for most of us, you start to feel young again because look at all those people 35 and older, all the way up into their 90s. Although aging is an undeniable physiological process, one's "age" is the most subjective of qualities. I must tell you, the people who started The WELL in the 1980s, then the world's only social media as we know it (and now historically, clearly more innovative than MySpace or Facebook), are still among the hippest people I know online. Most are still actively involved in new media -- several, with media forms that's way ahead of retail digital in purpose and function -- and allowing for occasional bleats about sore backs or elbows, don't even mention age once. My sense is that you should be working on expanding your own repertoire of experiences, your knowledge, and your sense of wonder rather than debating this chronological age or that one. It hardly matters. Unless retailing is your whole life, in which case the double-dip recession and possible deflation leading to economic (and personal) depression should be of greater concern than teeny-boppers who will one day turn 20 -- and then? You are in your moment at all times. Honor it.

  • (Pardon a correction, Stefany: line one should read, "When you're 30, 20 looks young." Guess my age is showing.)

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