The saying, “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick” has been around forever. I still hear it all the time, and I challenge that statement. When it comes to the Internet, I think there are a lot of “old dogs” who are definitely willing to learn a few new things. Otherwise, how is it that the boomer population and the 70+ audiences are frequenting the Internet and interacting in ways never done before? Case in point, my Mom is 71 and she sends me videos from YouTube. There’s also my Dad, who is nine years her senior, and is on a wireless laptop, surfing the Net.
If we keep saying and believing the statement, “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick,” then all of us traditional marketing professionals may as well hang up our marketing hats and find new careers. I’ve been in marketing/PR for 20 years, so you may consider me an “old dog.” I didn’t grow up on computers and I even remember my first job I was hand typing letters on a Brother typewriter (that was a scary time).
I think we need to change the phrase to help us be more motivated to move with the times and the advancements in technology. The new saying would go something like this, “You can teach anyone a new trick (regardless of their age) as long as they have the right mindset to accept change.” This is a much more positive statement and supports the fact that many of us traditional PR people are now connecting on Facebook, Plaxo, Twitter and LinkedIn to name a few. I do think that many communications professionals may accept technology at different rates, and through support, education and motivation they will continue to grow and excel in PR 2.0.