A frequent theme in my Editor’s blog posts about using social media to pursue culture change is the idea of using social media to create new narratives.
As a society, we see ourselves through certain lenses, or narratives, and act accordingly. Going to school, getting a job, getting married, having kids and buying lots of stuff; this is the typical American narrative.
These narratives definitely apply to how we adapt to our jobs and the culture of the organizations we work for. Every organization has a narrative and it is WAY easier to adapt to that narrative than to change it. Everyone working to promote culture change in the field of long-term care knows this.
Some of our cultural narratives have been great for our society. Other narratives… devastating. We can all think of recent examples in the global economy, environment and politics. But one damaging narrative in particular has remained stubbornly under the radar — the narrative that shapes how we think about aging and the way we treat “old” people.
Changing that narrative is what ChangingAging.org is all about.
The bad news is that changing a cultural narrative is hard. It used to be nearly impossible unless you were a large corporation with a powerful marketing and media apparatus. Look at what happened in the 60’s when coming-of-age baby boomers tried to change the narrative of growing up – they certainly made a lot of noise, but what happened when they did grow up? They almost universally conformed to the narrative.
The good news is the playing field is being leveled. We are in the midst of an incredible technological communications transformation that is empowering people all over the world to enact dramatic social change by creating their own stories and sharing them with like-minded people using social networking platforms.
This is the world of social media and social networking. The democratization of information through the Internet and social media platforms allows anyone to be a publisher, newsmaker, commentator and filmmaker. (See the video below).
We have a huge challenge before us. The dominant narrative of aging in our culture is the worship of youth, and you can’t deny that youth is powerfully attractive.
If you’re a reader of ChangingAging.org, chances are you’re already at the vanguard of the movement to redefine aging in our society. We need you – the care partners, elder advocates and culture change warriors – to harness the power of social media to tell your stories. To tell changing aging stories.
I’ll repeat a request from my last post: How are you or your organizations using social media tools? Which social media tools have worked well for you, and which ones baffle you?
Please share your blogs, videos, Facebook groups or fan pages by posting links in the comments section. And stay tuned to ChangingAging.org by subscribing to our RSS feed or by email above.
P.S. Oh wait, I need to include a social media tip! If you’re using Facebook Groups for your organization or movement, you might want to consider creating a Facebook Fan Page instead. Mashable.com, “The Social Media Guide,” gives a detailed explanation of the pro-cons of Groups vs. Fan Pages here. I just created a new Fan Page for ChangingAging.org and I look forward to continuing the conversation with you there.