Tag It, Bag It

20 04 2011

Aside from gang members with spray paint and kids in a playground, the word “tagging” seldom if ever had any other connotation. But in the past 5 years, it has come to occupy an important place in technology, especially with regard to digital content.

When we started uploading our pictures to sites like Picasa, Flickr and SmugMug earlier this century (yeah, doesn’t that sounds weird?!), we were prompted to include one or more descriptors such as “vacation” or “2007” or “family.” We now know these as tags, keywords we can search and use to parse content into customizable partitions.

Today, though, we tag with reckless abandon…and not just our pictures. We tag songs on a multitude of listening sites. We tag content (including websites) at Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious. And now we can tag media to which we are listening or watching.

Even advertisements.

Case in point: Pepsi has teamed up with smartphone app IntoNow to allow users to tag Pepsi Max ads in hopes of winning a free beverage. IntoNow is to television as Shazam is to music. Activate the phone app and let it listen to the content. In seconds it will identify what you are watching (listening to, etc.). Naturally, both IntoNow and Shazam allow for cross-posting to the social graph. The only real difference now is that Pepsi is trying to get us to actively pay attention for their commercials. Given that product trial is still a relevant tactic for Pepsi Max (how many of you have tried it?), this is a very clever means of putting product in the hands of consumers, all the while leveraging technology.

Oh yeah…and getting us to listen more carefully to the TV.

Interestingly, IntoNow was one of three mobile apps accused of secretly spying on its users by using the phone’s microphone to monitor what’s going on in your neck of the woods. It may seem innocuous, but the allegation is that these apps keep track of background noise…like other voices. In other words, are you alone? With males and/or females? And what time to you go to bed?

Ouch. All that for a free Pepsi Max?

Aside from the possible snooping going on, ad tagging has huge potential. And Pepsi is wise to pounce on this opportunity. Essentially, we have reached the point in which any and everything can be tagged. Seducing viewers to watch closely for a specific commercial is just plain genius. But linking product trial to an opt-in exercise also results in rich user data, far richer than just a coupon redemption in a convenience store. The IntoNow app gathers user-specific data that can go a long way in any marketing program.

It’s enough to make me thirsty just thinking about it. Now if I could only watch that commercial on my office computer…

Dr “Bottoms Up” Gerlich





Snap Crackle Pop

19 04 2011

In Free: The Future Of A Radical Price, Chris Anderson (Editor of Wired Magazine) argues that the most effective price is no price at all. While that may be a stretch for many industries, it certainly can be true when it comes to technological services (which cost very little to produce). While some ( e.g., New York Times) have recently installed paywalls to limit unfettered online access, the retail price of other content is nose-diving.

Case in point: Sony’s new Crackle video service lets subscribers watch movies and TV shows for free.

Yeah, you heard me. Free.

At a time when Netflix and Amazon are duking it out in streaming movies, and Hulu is delivering TV shows (ranging from $0 for Amazon Prime customers to $8 a month for Hulu), Crackle is throwing down the gauntlet by just making it available to anyone. Well, anyone with a PC/Mac or an iOS (read: Apple) mobile device.

Over 250 movies are currently available, along with a plethora of old TV shows, including Seinfeld. Set up your queue, and you’re ready to watch from anywhere. Need a Seinfeld fix at work or on the daily commute (I am assuming bus or train here)? Fire up your iPhone app and watch The Puffy Shirt. Just don’t laugh too loudly, or people will begin to wonder why you are so happy.

The beauty of Crackle, though, is that it is not just a slew of episodes and movies thrown together. No, this is curated content (get to know that phrase, because it is huge these days). Everything available is based on the glowing reviews of Sony editors. In other words, these represent their favorites. And you won’t be able to watch every Seinfeld episode, because only 210 are available at a time. In fact, Sony says that future content may very well have a theme to it, to add a little special sauce to the offering.

So how can this all be free? Simple. Advertising. Viewers will have to watch (OK, endure) an ad at the beginning of every download, and then again about every 10 minutes. Sure, this might become annoying for some, but it is the price we pay for free.

As long as you’re happy with the content Sony editors dish out, Crackle is a fabulous way to score some viewing pleasure at a minimum price. Furthermore, the flexibility of starting a movie or episode on one device and finishing it later, elsewhere and on a different device is extremely appealing. Think about starting a movie on the office PC ((don’t tell anyone I suggested this), catching 30 minutes on the train on your iPad or iPhone, and then finishing it at home on your Apple TV.

Chris Anderson was right about free being a radical idea, and I can only foresee more of this to come from major media providers. Yes, the ongoing price to play will be ever more advertising, but if it keeps a few more greenbacks in my billfold, I can live with it.

I just wish Anderson would follow his own advice and figure out how to make his magazine (especially the iPad version) free. Then we would be talking. The Soup Nazi in me would love to look down my nose and send him on his way.

Dr “No Price For You!” Gerlich





Lion’s Share

18 04 2011

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video’s got to be worth a million hits.

Well, I hope.

And so does Adair Lion, the local hip-hop artist with whom I am working to build his music career. Oh yeah…and make him a household word.

Job One for my students (and anyone else intrigued) is to click the image above. It will take you to his first video, Sicka Than Yo Average. Watch it. Like it. Share it.

Adair came to Amarillo from El Paso, via Austin. Along the way he has partnered with WT College of Business graduate Frankie (DjFrank Dux) Rodriguez to form a record label, artist management agency and clothing line, as well as make plenty of good music.

My job? Marketing advice and social media management. In other words, I get to practice what I preach. Water the grapevine. Oil the machine.

And spread the word like a mid-winter’s virus.

Next, visit his website, and click through his various social media icons. “Like” his Facebook. And then note that his next video drops this Thursday night at 9:00CDT. It’ll be right there on his YouTube channel (“Above The Notes”).

Later, visit his FB page and click Band Page in the left column. His music/video/photo player will load. Adair has 8 tunes for listening, 7 of which are available for free download. And, on the 28th, 5 more songs will be released.

So what’s the big deal? Plenty. For my students, it is the opportunity to not only read about social media strategy, but to actively participate in it. I encourage (OK, beg) all of you to Like and Share up a storm. Tweet about it. Put it in your own blogs. Tell everyone.

And while we’re at it, let’s help one of our own to hit it large in the music business. Through just a very little bit of social media maneurvering his YouTube counter jumped from 3,000 to over 32,000. But that’s not enough. It’s going to take a virus the likes of which the CDC has never seen.

We’re working on lots of other neat tactics, like QR codes for his clothing line, ringtones, Facebook and website shopping, and a thorough integration of all his various online assets (websites, YouTube videos, social media accounts, etc.). The goal is to pull people in and then never let them go.

Of course, it all depends on the music, and thus far it is all good. Take that as a supreme compliment, because those who know me, know that my listening tendencies lean more toward Green Day and Nickelback than they do hip-hop. But I try to keep an open mind (and ears), and I like Adair Lion.

And I hope you do, too…enough to tell all of your friends.

Dr “Turn It Up” Gerlich





Word Up

17 04 2011

Some things never change.

In this era of rapidly changing technology, culture and social customs, I am not sure whether it is comforting to know that some things apparently remain the same. To some folks that anchor may be reassuring; to others, it may only stir the pot of discontent.

Like the fact that marketers continue to reinforce gender stereotypes through their toy advertising to kids.

While this of course raises the question of whether these stereotypes are the result of nature or nurture, it does not remove the fact that marketers are quick studies on the phenomenon and know how to craft their campaigns accordingly. The Wordles (word clouds, reflecting frequency of word usage) are very revealing. The top one is for “girl” products, while the bottom is for “boy” products. Note the differences. Boys are bombarded with words playing on their sensibilities for power, battle and action. Girls, in contrast, hear things like love, friendship, style, magic and many other terms related to relationships and feelings.

No wonder our boys want to be military leaders and our girls princesses.

As the proud parent of two amazing daughters, a lot of this bothers me. Sure, I know there are natural inclinations that come with our native software. We are, in large part, wired to be one gender or another (yes, I know there are exceptions, so back off a minute). But I also want to encourage my daughters to be free to assume roles in society and business that may (no apologies here) very well be presently occupied by males. I want them to feel free to aim for the corner office, to be that star academic researcher.

Or, to be a traditional stay-at-home Mom. Either one. They are equally valuable to our society.

For that matter, if I had sons, I would not hesitate to tell him that he need not aspire to be the next General MacArthur. In fact, it would be perfectly OK to not be interested in power, battle, action, etc.

A trip down the toy aisles of Walmart, Target, et al, illustrate the gender stereotyping used at the retail level. No one need be a rocket scientist to know when thet are among boy or girl toys. A sea of pink greets little girls; boys are welcomed by bold, bright primary colors.

OK, I know that marketers serve the interests of their shareholders, and the goal is to make money. If making money involves stooping to old stereotypes, who cares, right? But the parent in me (and the marketer) blanches when I see this in practice. Heck, my 10 year-old daughter loves to play with Lego sets, many of which are boy-themed. Guess what? I do not care. They teach her creativity, eye-hand coordination, as well as 3-D modeling capabilities. And those are skills that all of us can use.

You would think that after all these years, after Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman has been hummed by female feminists and male feminists alike, that we could put this nonsense behind us. Yes, if my daughters want to be princesses, I won’t stop them. And if they want to be civil engineers, I will buy them an erector set (and not because I am living vicariously through them in a son-less family). Because it is time for us to move along now, leave old methods behind, and move on to not just equality of opportunity, but also equality of appeal.

Some things do need to change.

Dr “Change Is Good” Gerlich





Juiced

16 04 2011

A couple of generations ago, Marshall McLuhan coined the phrases “the global village” and “the medium is the message.” While he was certainly spot-on in characterizing the then-emerging mass media and how they shaped human behavior, he had no way of being able to see forward to a day in which mere humans would become the media. In his day, it was a top-down phenomenon. Today, though, thanks to the web, it can just as easily be bottom-up.

The citizen journalist movement is a good example of this. Since so many of us have web access, smartphones, digital cameras, etc., it is all too easy for us to co-opt the bandwidth of traditional media and become our own channel of information. In fact, the Fourth Estate (i.e., the press) is having to fight valiantly to stay alive, because so much breaking news is spread via Twitter and Facebook by private individuals that traditional media have a hard time keeping up.

So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

Which is why I was not the least bit surprised to read that YouTube sensation Annoying Orange is being picked up for TV.

Never mind that it is aptly named. Annoying Orange is still funny, and in this era of channel proliferation (on both TV and YouTube), it is difficult for viewers to cut through the junk to find the little that is good.

I suppose that 50 million page views a month means it is good.

And that is exactly what the as-yet-unnamed TV channel must be thinking. If they can attract even one-half of those YouTube viewers over to our living room screens, it will be an advertiser’s dream. Content is not nearly as important as ad revenues, for that’s what helps both old- and new-school media make payroll.

But therein lies the danger. Once something becomes such an insanely viral hit, it runs the risk of losing people simply because it has gone mainstream. You see, it is because of the fact that it is not seen on traditional media that it is so popular. Even website like JibJab can run their course and become cliche. They jumped the shark long ago when they started inviting people to make their own videos by uploading head shots of them and their friends doing crazy things. You can skip the alcohol and let JibJab do all the work.

When viruses become pandemics, they still eventually run their course. The same is true of viral gimmicks, marketing, etc. They eventually lose their coolness. And the same can be said of phenomenon in general that try to cross platforms. You know. TV shows that become movies. Movies that become TV shows. Books that become movies. And now web series trying to make it on TV.

That’s not to say it can’t be done. But maybe (OK, probably) there is truth in simply recognizing that a phenomenon is popular in large part because of the medium on which it is delivered. And just like it is difficult, if not impossible, to translate a marketing tagline into other languages and expect it to be equally successful, it is tough to jump platforms with equal panache.

Sure, the fact that Annoying Orange is a grassroots development gone haywire is in itself quite a statement. And it is likewise telling that traditional media now find non-traditional media as source material. But I am not holding my breath for AO to be a TV ratings hit. It’s fun simply because it is is on YouTube, just like Sh*t My Dad Says is (was) fun on Twitter. But 30 minutes’ worth? I doubt it.

Which is another way of saying that the medium might be the message after all, even if it isn’t quite the same as which McLuhan spoke. The global village we know as YouTube is probably best left right where it is.

Dr “Squeeze This” Gerlich





In Your Face

15 04 2011

As if geo-loco promotional pushes onto our smartphones and targeted Facebook ads weren’t enough, now there is news of digital billboards that can change when they see you. Immersive Labs is testing new billboards that use facial recognition to recognize people, and then tailor the ad content. And no, it is not actually recognizing you as much as it is recognizing context-specific attributes, such as male, female, couple, with or without kids, etc.

Whew. I was scared there for a moment. (And I bet you were, too.)

But the billboard does have eyes, and can see you coming. It processes your countenance, and voila! the billboard changes based on what it sees. Furthermore, the system is smart enough to recognize age, and is cognizant of time of day and temperature. This allows highly customized appeals to be made.

And it also keeps track of how long you look at it. You know. Attention span. Like, are you still with me here? OR DO I NEED TO SHOUT?

Welcome to the world of customized marketing. Audience of One. Listen up.

And if this really does sound just a bit creepy, you probably are not alone. The truth, though, is that customized advertising is nothing new, just the technology being used. Most people wouldn’t bat an eye upon receiving custom robo-calls or junk mail, mostly because they are old hat. But a billboard that sees me coming? That’s pretty radical.

Of course, this raises the question of the billboard’s ability to focus on one or a couple of individuals who may be part of a larger crowd. It reminds me of those scenes on late-night talk shows when the host starts spinning a crazy yarn, and the camera suddenly focuses on an unwitting audience member. How are these billboards going to do that when there are dozens of people in proximity?

Furthermore, what if it makes a mistake? Like mistaking a guy for a gal (or vice-versa), or old for young? The insult factor could be pretty high (not to mention embarrassing if you’re out with friends.

Still, this is all a giant move in the right direction for advertisers. As invasive as advertising often is, would it not be better if we all received ads that might, pray tell, actually come a little closer to matching who we are and what we want? And is it not cheaper also for companies to be able to spend their advertising dollars on people most likely to purchase?

I am all for advertising that truly does cut through the marketing clutter, but for this to work, it must also cut through the human clutter. Sidewalks and streets are seldom vacant, so these babies are going to have to be able to train their digital eyes with laser precision.

The good news is that, no matter what, we consumers still have final veto power. We can still say no. We can still turn the other way. Marketers will never be able to gain that upper hand on us. Now if I could just remove that bullseye from my forehead. Sometimes I feel as if they know where I’m going to be before I get there.

Dr “Going Geo-Loco” Gerlich





Better Living Through Coupons

14 04 2011

One of the great trades between marketers and consumers is the coupon. Do a little work in return for a cost savings. But coupons suffer from low usage rates, with sometimes as low as a 2% redemption rate. Maybe it is the tedium of perusing the Sunday paper for interesting deals. Maybe it is the time investment of clipping, sorting an storing all of those coupons. Maybe it is the feeling that time could be spent better doing other things.

But if the coupon were to arrive on your smartphone, it’s a whole different proposition. No scissors. No ink. No archiving.

Living Social is the latest to join the fray in location-based services (or geo-loco, as the cool people like to say). Lunch offers for $1 in Washington, D.C. are on tap for lucky (and possibly deal-prone) folks in our nation’s capital.

It all works off the GPS in your smartphone. Offers will be pushed based on participating companies within a half-mile radius of your location. Walk, bike or drive down the road, and the offers will change.

AT&T and Facebook are beta-testing similar platforms across the country, all of which can be dialed in to specific day-parts to maximize participation (e.g., lunch or dinner, happy hour, etc.). The sky is the limit as to who, what or how much to be promoted through this medium.

All of these are opt-in programs, and have the beauty of being much closer to the possible point of sale than do paper coupons. The length of time between clipping Sunday morning coupons and redeeming them in a supermarket could be substantial, whereas a temporary offer based on my location right now could be just a matter of minutes.

Which means this is the perfect marketing storm for upsetting the old economy apple cart.

At the same time, though, digital coupons run the risk of cluttering our wireless existence, like so many paper coupons stuffed into the Sunday paper. Too many voices beckoning us to shop this way could result in inertia at best, or a blow-off at worst. You know…kind of like so many emails the likes of which we never imagined we would receive.

Because these are opt-in, providers of these coupons run the risk of small participation. Furthermore, an entire class of consumer is effectively ignored: folks who have not yet purchased a smartphone.

Of course, not everyone gets a Sunday paper, either, so it is not fair to cry foul just because marketing is starting to discriminate on the basis of technology ownership. But for those who do want to play along, I foresee the competition intensifying many fold. Furthermore, I doubt it will be long before arch-rival Groupon launches a similar campaign to complement their email Groupon of the day. Leveraging geo-location of consumers is the next battlefront, and it’s going to be a fight for market dominance.

Which means that for those who do opt in, the spoils of this war are going to accrue to them as well. Yes, we will no doubt feel bombarded with special offers. No, we probably will not want every one of them. But $1 lunch deals? It’s an offer too good to refuse. It’s effortless. And that’s a redeeming value to which I am likely to respond.

I kind of like it when companies fight over me. Now who’s next?

Dr “Let’s Make A Deal” Gerlich





Down The River

13 04 2011

The evolution of the eReader just took another big step yesterday, but I’m not sure whether it was progress or a slip on a banana peel.

>Maybe it was inevitable that eReaders would become platforms for come-ons, promos and communications otherwise known as advertising. Still, when I read that Amazon is introducing a new ad-supported Kindle for $114, I froze in place.

The new Kindle, which ships on May 3, is $25 cheaper, inching ever closer to the magical sub-$100 price point. Ads will be limited to pop-ups when starting the device, as well as screensavers, which means the reading experience is still considered sacred ground, one to not be interrupted.

Since Amazon is provider of both hardware and software here, they have an inside track in their advertising model. In fact, all of the initial offers will be for other things Amazon sells. Some are in fact killer deals, but in fact set up to promote trial of other Amazon services (e.g., audio books, gift cards, music downloads). Offers from non-Amazon companies will follow shortly.

The advertising launch, though, is not retroactive. Current Kindle owners will not get the ads…only folks who buy in at the new lower price. Which basically means they are selling their advertising sensor for $25.

I like to think I am worth a little more than that, but at the same time, some of the initial offers are pretty good. Still, it wouldn’t take a savvy marketing/accounting team to figure out that Amazon could probably afford to give the thing away if it converted a good portion of these customers to other products and services. In other words, the price point is already so low that maybe they should just give it away, because it wouldn’t take long to recover the price of the device by selling other things.

Never mind that the purpose of owning the Kindle is to read…and all of the content is also sold by Amazon. That’s the luxury of perfect vertical integration, for everything is now proprietary.

If the new program is successful, I can see the day coming when we will fire up our new iPhone 7 only to be greeted with ads. iPads? More ads. Computers? You get my drift.

In other words, it won’t be enough to be faced with content-specific ads (like what we see on websites, Facebook or Google). No, it will become platform-specific, almost a consumer penalty for using a certain device. In still other words, a tax. An advertising tax. We will pay with our eyeballs, even if we saved money when we bought it.

While the Marketer in me completely understands the initiative, the consumer in me has, at best, mixed emotions. Part of me feels like I have been sold down the river. Again. The Marketer in me marvels at how Amazon has finally figured out how to enter the lucrative advertising business. The consumer in me cries, “I am not an advertising whore!”

Which means that, if they want to play like Google and Facebook, then maybe they should just give the product away. After all, Google and Facebook do. They have product and service delivery expenses like anyone else, but ad revenues more than cover them. I would feel better about the ad-infested waters of a free Kindle with more ads, than a cheaper one with hand-picked spots.

Because, you see, I (we, you) really am (are) worth more than $25, especially to a company that has the potential to sell me the world. I may be trying to paddle upstream, but maybe it’s time we consumers draw a line in the water. Let’s build a dam and keep all of this water for us.

Dr “Watershed” Gerlich





Chip Shot

12 04 2011

I am all over innovative marketing methods. There is already far too much clutter on the commercial graph, so whenever a company finds a way to cut through it, I stand at attention. And salute.

One of the essential elements (or legs of the tripod, as I discuss in my classes) of any 21C marketing plan is the use of Permission-Based Marketing (PBM). These include opt-in email lists, apps, QR codes and outbound text messaging. So when we popped into a Chipotle last night, I was distracted from the simple menu with a solicitation to text the word GOLD to 888222.

Always on the lookout for something blogworthy, I made the clerk wait a few seconds so I could find out more about Chipotle’s commitment to using all-natural meats and other products in their foods. Or, as the sign said, “Celebrating 18 years of Gold ingredients.”

Before I knew it, my food was getting cold as I engaged in a drawn-out text message conversation. The marketer in me, though, was happy to chew on this instead.

After the initial opt-in, the following conversation ensued:

Chipotle: So you want to learn more about the Food With Integrity mission at Chipotle? Reply START to begin. (Standard opt-out options were given inthis and in all subsequent messages, along with disclaimers about message and data rates may apply, blah blah blah.)

Me: START

Chipotle: In the US, most pigs are raised in factories and never go outside. What about the pork at Chipotle? Reply PORK.

Me: PORK

Chipotle: Our carnitas come from pigs raised naturally–outdoors without the use of antibiotics. More? Reply MORE

Me: MORE

Chipotle: Factory farms use over 29 million pounds of antibiotics each year to make up for the conditions of confinement. At Chipotle? Reply ANTI.

Me: ANTI

Chipotle: Zero preventative antibiotics are used in producing the naturally raised meats that Chipotle serves. More? Reply YES.

Me: YES

Chipotle: Food in the US typically travels from 1500-2500 miles from farm to table. How far does local produce at Chipotle travel? Reply LOCAL.

Me: LOCAL

Chipotle: Over 5 million pounds of our local produce comes from within 350 miles or less from farm to restaurant. More? Reply TOTALLY.

Me: TOTALLY

Chipotle: The US is the only developed nation that allows the consumption of dairy from cows treated with rGBH. At Chipotle? Reply CHEESE.

Me: CHEESE

Chipotle: Definitely not. Our sour cream and cheese comes from cows not given the synthetic rGBH since 2007. Good? Reply GOOD.

Me: GOOD

Chipotle: Yes it is. If you would like regular Chipotle games and offers (never more than one per week) reply with your ZIP code.

Me: #####

Chipotle: Thanks, we’ll be in touch. Max 2 messages/week.

At which point I laughed, because they went from only 1 message per week to 2!

Still, I was captivated by the dialogue, even though my locally-made burrito was getting colder by the minute. Chipotle engaged me in their campaign, gave me every opportunity to bow out, got me to beg for more (my ZIP code, though, will tell them not to bother too much, since the nearest one is 290 miles away), and in the process, got my cell phone number.

Yeah, sheer genius.

Chipotle has always been known for being a couple of standard deviations away from the mean. Their quirky stores decked out in corrugated tin and blond wood are a far cry from typical fast food; the totally whacked creations mounted on the walls scream “We are different!” So using a tech-forward means of talking one-on-one with customers is probably not all that unexpected. Sure, text messages are not exactly rocket science, but their simple (and cheap) system did cut through the clutter, chips, black beans and grilled onions. And it spoke volumes.

Now if we could just get one of these in Amarillo…

Dr “More Salsa, Please” Gerlich





Generation Gasp

11 04 2011

They say that you reap what you sow. If the farming metaphor is true, then my Baby Boomer peers are only getting what we deserve. After all, we spent the better part of the 60s and 70s making fun of our elders, and going out of our way to be defiant.

And now my kids make fun of me for being old. It doesn’t feel so good.

In spite of my generation heralding a new way for everything, including the internet, we are finding ourselves trying to stay apace of all that has ensued since the halcyon days of our youth. The problem is, many of my peers are sucking the technological equivalent of Ensure…enough sustenance to keep you going, but not for long or far.

So when I came upon two unrelated articles at Mashable about how Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Generation Z (1992-2010) use technology, I had to laugh. Cue The Who. Whereas we once proudly sang “I hope I die before I get old,” it is we who have attained that status, and our offspring who are dancing to the remix.

Now I will be quick to say that I am doing everything humanly possible to not be associated too much with the Boomers, at least when it comes to cool stuff. I have a reputation to uphold. The fact that the kiddos are roughly 40 years younger than me makes the task a large one, but I am up for the challenge.

I hate Ensure anyway.

But when I read that only 15% of people 55 and older use a smartphone, I cringed. I am only three years off from that mark, and cannot imagine how any self-respecting adult of any age would not want a smartphone. Especially my peeps. Heck, compared to those beastly TTY machines we pounded back in the 70s, a smartphone is manna from heaven.

And then there is the report that 16 million Americans 55 and up (which also includes folks in the previous generation) are now on Facebook…as if that is the modern day equivalent of possessing fire. Look, there were 78 million of us born into boomerhood, and the youngest among us is 47. With roughly 4 million live births per year during that period, this means there are roughly 46 million between 55 and 66 years of age. To think that only one-third of us “get” the social graph does not speak well of my Woodstock-attending pals.

Well, come to think of it, maybe that explains a lot.

In contrast, Generation Z is all over technology. While I eat, sleep and breathe all things tech, it is my 13 year old who tells me about most of the cool new apps. Like the article says, she and her friends are curators, picking and choosing precisely what they want, and leaving the rest to rot. They share. They like. They post. They know everything about three minutes after it happened.

And my generation is waiting for someone to invent the Phone Clapper so we can find the dang thing.

While younger marketers try to be polite, maybe even a little patronizing, in their treatment of boomers, I suppose we had it coming. Our crop is maturing. The harvest is near. Reaping is not as much fun as sowing when the seeds are bad to begin with. Can we have a do-over?

Dr “Grey Area” Gerlich