There's a great New Yorker cartoon of a dog typing at a computer with the explanation, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog". I'd like to add they don't know if you're a puppy or older dog either.
I participate in online communities: foreign movies, travel, cairn terrier (pic) owners, etc. ... and discussion doesn't include my age. My daughter is joining Facebook group "my Saab smells like crayons" (community with Saab detail in common). Crayon smell when I drove it too.
Associations often immediately draw generational lines when discussing social media, online communities, emerging technologies ... when age isn't limiting detail online. We need open-approach to communities, and not try to put puppies in one box, and older dogs in another.
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In a perfect world, I'd say that an open approach is a nice, democratic, feel good sentiment. But in the real world, I don't think it's an effective approach to community building. In the first place, the Realtor community is not built on openness: at its heart is exclusion of membership based on function (licenses, etc.) Also inherent in the structure is success relating to consumers--hence the lengthy discussion of generational effects of purchasing habits. What all that leads to in our membership is specialists--and community based on specialty (resort property specialists, commercial specialists, broker specialists, and so on.) These specialists are an association's target markets for member services, program development, and general allocation of community resources. I think we have to work harder at understanding diversity and using those differences as a basis for community building--otherwise, all we will have is an empty doghouse.
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