Some Baby Boomers in communications such as Shel Israel, co-author of "Naked Conversations," saw the future and that it was digital. Come to think of it so did some members of the Silent Generation. Jack O'Dwyer, who made a fortune back in the print days with public relations directories, launched web site Odwyerpr.com back in the late 1990s.
Most others went into denial. Then clients demanded public relations campaigns which included social media. Baby Boomers scrambled to learn. And learn they did. C.S. Lewis observed that experience is a brutal teacher but we learn, god, we learn.
However, no generation, even digital natives, anticipated the frequent and rapid mutations in technology. Currently prospects and clients expect public relations agencies to be able to recommend quality affordable cloud-computing vendors [Download Cloudcomputingarticle.] No question, the game demands being in the loop about current and emerging technologies.
The good news for Baby Boomers is that there is plenty of time to keep learning. That's because the lion's share will be working well into their 70s and 80s.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute's study predicts that retirement is a financial impossibility for the majority of this group of 76 million. In MARKET WATCH, Robert Powell tells us the details of that study titled "The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy." Nest eggs, pensions, and social security are unlikely to keep aging professionals afloat. The less they earned during their careers the more likely they will have to keep working until their 70s and 80s.
That puts time on the side of the Baby Boomers. And that means they can take a long-term perspective on developing niches within what is now called social media marketing [Download Socialmediamarketing.] Given time, as we all know, people determined to master a field do just that.
Along the way, there are so many mistakes that failure has become positioned as the rite of passage for this era. WIRED created the platform for that with its December 2009 special section on how big screw-ups can lead to big success. Had Bill Clinton not lost out during his second campaign for governor, he might have never put together what it took to be elected to the White House. The April edition of HARVARD BUSINESS JOURNAL focused on failure. More recently THE ECONOMIST reinforced the theme.
Given the importance of trying and failing, self-consciousness is career suicide. The new kinds of players don't watch themselves and others watching them. In itself, of course, this model for success isn't new. Mark Zuckerberg wasn't and isn't a self-conscious kind of leader. Neither is Steve Jobs. Centuries ago, St. Francis of Assisi created the prayer which pleads for the capacity of self-forgetting.