“They were on Geritol. Injecting and mainlining Geritol. I mean they were some old farts.” – Singer Robert Plant reflecting back on a Rolling Stone negative review of Led Zeppelin’s first album

“I was wondering why the door closed on me.” – Actor Pierce Brosnan on being axed as 007 James Bond for the “New Bond,” Daniel Craig

geritol

Welcome to the Who Would Have Thunk It Department…

… An African-American man was elected and re-elected as president of the United States. His opponent and respective party standard bearer is a Mormon. Somewhere in heaven Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is smiling.

… Gay marriage will soon be legal nationwide. Write it down. It is only a matter of time. Let the big court rule and let’s move on (lower-case spelling).

… Be careful not to step on the shattered pieces of the glass ceiling as women are serving or have served as corporate chieftains, the prime minster of England, the chancellor of das Vaterland and at some point (it’s inevitable) the leader of the free world.

These statements do not suggest in the slightest that racism, sexism and negative slurs about one’s sexuality do not and will not continue to exist. Check out the viral video of fired Rutgers Coach Mike Rice.

At the same time, there is absolutely no doubt that we have come far as a society when it comes to leveling the playing field for racial and ethnic minorities, women and alternative lifestyles…but what about those north of 50?

Walking into a meeting room to speak to about 20 PR professionals last month in Sacramento, they expressed surprise that someone approaching his 60th birthday was coming to speak to them about why social media is not monolithic, how digital is eternal, and how to develop effective search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns.

What seemed unusual to them was that I was not sporting tattoos or any unconventional piercings. Where was my skateboard? Only Millennials and maybe, X-Gens, know social media. They are the ones that are listed “innovators” or at worst, “early majority,” when it comes to the Diffusion of Innovation Theory curve. Baby Boomers (who need not apply) are considered to be “late majority” or even “laggards” when it comes to digital self-publishing. Based upon their birth dates, it just has to be that way.

And yet, I teach social media to college students. My Y-Gen students ask about my Almost DailyBrett blog and how to use tags, other social media sites and online groups to spur SEO. If you need to ask for a translation of the acronym…you are too old (Just kidding, kind of…)

Whenever I fill out an “optional” demographic survey, particularly from a taxpayer-supported entity, non-profit or technology organization, I sense that I am committing professional Hari-Kari. Just insert that pen right into my stomach…and feel what is left of my career ooze out onto the floor.

First question: Male or female? The last I looked…hold it (checking)…yes, male. Strike one.

Second question: Hispanic or non-Hispanic white? Que’? Non-Hispanic white. Strike two.

Third question: Veteran or non-Veteran? Sorry to say, non-Veteran. Strike three.

Legally, they can’t ask for your age, but if they could? … Should I hide the date when I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting Journalism from USC?  Not a bad idea.

The other day, I was discussing a potential contractor opportunity with a Silicon Valley software startup to assist with Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and applying my dozens of research hours into social media to help the firm break out of the pack, secure greater VC dollars and succeed on its own or be acquired by a larger company (Exit Strategies).

Better yet, I live in Eugene, Oregon and naturally do not charge Silicon Valley consulting rates (way north of $100 per hour).

Alas it was not to be. I was diplomatically told that unofficial company policy (and it has to be that way) is they won’t hire anyone else north of 45 years young.

Yes, yes…I know there are laws against age discrimination…try proving that in a 7.7 percent (official) unemployment rate backdrop. Does one want to be known as a whiner? Do you want the world to know that you just sued your last employer?

Every Baby Boomer PR/Marketing/Investor Relations type that proclaims to me that he or she does not “get” social media has one thing in common: They are all unemployed.

Social media may have its ebbs and flows (e.g., goodbye Myspace; whatever happened to Google+?; Is Pinterest fading?), but there is no doubt that digital self-publishing is ubiquitous and permanent. The landscape has shifted to true two-way symmetrical communications.

Having said that, the playing field is not level. When it comes to social media pros north of 50, there is a question about whether they will be allowed to even get on the field…any field, level or not.

Instead of exclusively focusing on extracting even more taxpayer dollars from the government, maybe the AARP and other seasoned-citizen NGOs should devote some of their energies to the new Civil Rights cause of our times: Giving qualified people more than 50 a truly fighting chance to apply their knowledge, talent and tons of energy to solving the issues and problems that come with our increasingly advanced, warp-speed digital society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geritol

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2010/02/pierce-brosnan-still-wants-to-be-james-bond/

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061103112837AA9OqUd

http://www.hollywood.com/news/brief/2420257/news-oct-15-brosnan-says-he-was-fired-as-bond-celebs-urge-people-to-vote-prince-s-new-video-labeled-racist-more?page=all

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku

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