social media viewpointsCan ANY company or organization afford NOT to be involved in social media? It’s a fair question and one may argue that it’s a CRITICAL question!

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Buzz, Foursquare, and others that have just joined the game—and the list goes on and on ad nauseam!

“We already have a website and we get email. Isn’t that enough?”

The words invading our vocabulary are legion… and silly at times: blogs, fans, tweets, diggs, etc. Is this trip really necessary?

PERHAPS NOT. Let’s start by exploring why NOT to participate in social media:

#1. It’s Just a Fad

Pet Rocks, Hula Hoops, Chia Pets, social media. It won’t last. It’s just a flash in the pan. Something new will be showing up soon. Moore’s law (the number of transistors that fit in an integrated circuit doubles every two years) has NOTHING on the changes in social media!

Don’t try to keep up. It can’t be done. By the time you figure out how to do it, it’s already yesterday’s news!

#2. It Takes a Geek

“I never got my VCR to stop flashing 12:00, so how in the world can I learn this stuff?”

So much to learn, so little time. Even for those from the newer generations, the technology can be dizzying. This may work for Jimmy Neutron and Boy Genius, but not for most of us!

#3. It’s a Digital Black Hole

Farmville, Mafia Wars, Restaurant City, Bejeweled, Texas Holdem, and so forth. We’ll be paying our employees to play the latest version of Minesweeper!

The amount of time wasted, loss of productivity, and “dead air time” make the use of most of these applications a bad investment. Even if they TRY to use it effectively, the maelstrom of social media will draw them into its time-killing vortex!

#4. We’re Already Too Busy

Spending all day staring at a screen can’t be profitable. We should be meeting clients, talking to customers, negotiating with vendors, and beating our competitors, NOT typing insipid 140-character messages to our followers!

“I already get more email than I can handle, and you want to add MORE messages?”

Well, these arguments seem to be pretty cogent. I guess we should just sit it out. Skip this dance. Let others experience the “bleeding edge of the leading edge.” The return on investment just isn’t there, anyway.

Or is it?

Let’s take another look at these concerns.

#1. It’s Just a Fad

If social media is just a fad, then it’s managed to dupe an impressive collection of heavy hitters.

According to a recent study of 100 of the largest companies in the Fortune 500 list, 79% use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs for communication. Companies as diverse as Sony, Target, Ford Motor Company and Starbucks are all employing some type of social media.

These companies invest millions of dollars in creating a presence on the Internet, and they see social media as an important part of that investment.

Hmmm. . . . maybe they’re on to something?

#2. It Takes a Geek

If you can type (with 10 fingers or fewer) and click, you can use social media.

There are many applications out there to make your experience “friendly.” TweetDeck, HootSuite, Seesmic and even advances in the applications themselves allow most of us to navigate the wild and woolly world of social media with ease. You don’t have to be able to speak hexadecimal code to use social media.

Witness the lower right-hand corner of Ford's home page.

#3. It’s a Digital Black Hole

It’s a fact that there is a multiplicity of time killers out there. Facebook alone has screen after screen of games and adventures that have nothing to do with productivity. Not to mention all of the vacuous Twitter responses to “What’s happening?” that are typed in daily.

The ability to waste time online is ever-present. Of course, a company’s effective AUP (acceptable use policies) for the use of Internet applications can guide employees in the appropriate use of the plethora of applications out there.

Simply stated, social media does not HAVE to be a “digital black hole.” Just because it CAN be a waste of time does not mean that it HAS to be!

#4. We’re Already Too Busy

We ARE busy. The credo, “work smarter, not harder” has its place.  But “working smarter” has its limitations. You can only work so much “smarter” until you must make up the difference with “harder.” This places time at a premium, and clicking and scrolling do not seem to be very productive. Time spent on social media can be extensive, but there are ways to use your time more effectively.

And, a BONUS:

The Opportunity For Branding Is Extraordinary!

The amount of time the global public is spending on social networks has tripled in the past year. That’s quite an audience, is it not? There’s unlikely a better venue out there to ply your trade these days. The Internet itself is a goldmine of resources to educate you on the effective use of these new applications.

For example, there are Twitter tips here, as well as practical insights for both Facebook and Twitter here.  Investigate these extraordinary resources before making your decision.

What are your thoughts? Are you facing skeptics head on?  How do you overcome common objections to social media adoption? Share them in the comment box below.

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  • It sound great.This is a very simple and straight forward concept. I like this concept – it looks refreshingly smooth & uncomplicated!tq

  • Excellent post Barry! While pet rocks were certainly a fad (still see chia pets and hula hoops around 😉 ); I seriously do not see the internet going away. It’s absolutely revolutionized how we live, AND how we do business.

    Just like anything else, time management is essential – and of course, one can always hire a social media consultant and manager to help devise a social media marketing plan and even to actually manage it – leaving the business owner free to actually run their business.

    Social media is really just a new form of marketing. Companies hire marketing agencies all the time to manage their offline marketing – there are similar services available geared specifically to social media marketing.

    Like you said, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.

  • Barry, when it comes to the “It is just a fad point” — rolling out all the heavy hitters that use social media tends to tune out some of the small businesses I work with. My clients feel that it is further proof that social media requires a tremendous amount of resources to have value for a business. I personally do not agree as I have witnessed businesses that I work with grow their client base, brand, and customer/community relationships through social media.

    It would be a benefit to have more small business success stories, implementation lessons, and case studies to demonstrate why this is not a fad.

    Great post!


  • Hi Barry,
    Great post. Being clear on what your customers are doing and why social media is important on top of finding and using successful examples is a good way to break down resistance to change.

    Then, it’s all about figuring out a step by step plan to implement and maintain rather than taking on too much too soon.


  • Great post Barry…this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while fact I started a series of articles I call The Psychology of Business in Social Media: A Thesis on Fitting a Square Peg into a Round Hole.

    I find that the issues you’ve mentioned are quite often cited, but NOT the real reason coprs and mid/small businesses alike tend to avoid or blunder their way through Social Media. The problem is deeper and I would love to hear what SM experts and avid readers of SME (whom I consider Social Media experts as well) think about it.
    Part 1:
    Part 2:

    I’m looking forward to your opinions on this.

  • Very well put, of course these social media sites are just tools really, it depends on who wields them and how they are wielded. Any advance in informations and communications technology is a good thing, whether you use it to throw sheep at each other or whether you use it to build a community of fans for your awesome new gadget on the market and how much time and resources you’re willing to throw at efforts to do it properly will determine whether you love or hate it.

  • So true!

  • The concerns here are valid and they are the same questions we get often from our clients. I imagine many of us have seen these questions. The key is to avoid “participating” in social media and utilizing each network for the benefits it provides you. And based on your business, don’t be afraid to ignore a network that isn’t a good fit. I love contrarian articles because they force you to evaluate once again your purpose.

    Ryan Malone

  • I started Social Media late in the game, end of December 2009. What I like most about it is that it is an even playing field. Everyone’s Twitter looks the same, Everyone’ s Facebook has the same basic layout.

    It’s whoever can engage people the most.

  • Sweet reverse psychology there… I think I’ll stick with the idea of social media, even if it proves my geekiness.

  • agree 🙂 Social media has really good edge because of the number of users it has and members too. Many of the members try to check their profiles regularly to connect to their friends and to the community as well.

  • I think the best part about social media is that it puts our marketing focus solely back where it should be – on the customer. So many other marketing tactics focus on what the business wants to say instead of what the customer wants to hear. In social media, you will not experience any success without a focus on the customer and their needs.

  • I was one of those “Twitter won’t work for me” ney sayers for a long time. Then I did some research, dinked around with it a bit, and found out that it does have some value.

  • Pete

    I’ve decided that using Twitter is the equivalent of diagnosing yourself with ADD. It’s bad enough I’ve started using hashtags as part of the alphabet, even when conversing offline. #wtf

  • Steven Chester

    You have two #1’s in your reasons ‘not to participate’ list :).

  • I remember having this same conversation with companies in the 90’s about why they needed a Web site. Early adopters receive both the pain of being on the leading edge and being on the leading edge because the road is still not paved.

  • I cannot fathom ignoring social media in business and in my personal life. The number of people in my family, both young and old, that have created social media accounts this year is astonishing. Almost everyone in my family has an account on some social network except for my Nana.

    Therefore, I cannot imagine a business choosing to ignore the power of harnessing social media websites. Maybe this is too blunt, but I think laziness and a lack of a competitive drive are the real reasons why some business owners do not utilize social media to promote their business.

  • This is the perfect article to relay to all the folks that believe social media is just about sharing what you ate for lunch…

  • Barry, the time factor comes up a lot and it is usually from folks that are working “in their business” and not “on their business”. It takes a mindshift and a shift in priorities that is being called into action in this “new economy”. This is definitely not a fad that is going to go away.

  • Fix that 🙂

  • Loved these words of encouragement: “If you can type (with 10 fingers or fewer) and click, you can use social media.”

  • great posting. Being a one person, band does make it hard to fit it all in though, the blogging, social media, link building….. and if I’m really lucky a bit of time to design the odd site or two lol.

  • To overcome the objections, for my targeted audience (senior care providers), I have to show them how it works. They need to test the waters and actually see some results before they truly buy in to it. There are also the hurdles of HIPPA, staff knowledge and availability, and IT even creates barriers with band width, fire walls etc. Your article is right though, those that jump on the band wagon will reap the rewards. Great article!

  • gameglide

    Great points! Additionally, I think that Social Media is a great (and inexpensive) way to get the word out there for a new company such as ourselves.

  • My favorite anti social media excuses that I hear regularly are: our audience isn’t on there and show me the ROI.

    Billions of people worldwide of all ages use social media in some form or another and these same people continue to throw money at traditional advertising or marketing with no idea whether it brings a return either.

  • You make some great point Barry. Out of all of these points, #4 strung a cord because it’s easy to be reactive rather than be proactive. For a lot of businesses, even thinking about social media is outside their comfort zone. Talking to some small businesses, they are becoming more aware and want to embrace it.

    To add to your points, I would really suggest understanding why you would want to use social media tools? It has to be more than because all the cool kids are doing it, lol; that’s not good enough. Set a goal and start implementing the smaller steps.

  • DINO,

    Greetings from rural Australia.

    I read both your posts. And couldn’t stop smiling. Because you’re so right.

    Corporations are now the dinosaurs of the business world. And watching how they’re going to survive is an interesting past time.

    We can’t do without many of them. We need to have oil, minerals and other raw materials. They produce this better and cheaper for all of us.

    But others are borderline. Large manufacturers who produce shoddy goods in China and ignore complaints from customers are teetering on the brink. Because there can be someone to take their place.

    I manufacture my products in my local rural region and put back into the community by having all my products made by men and women who have a disability. I’m always amazed at how important this is to people who buy from me.

    My telephone is answered by a human voice. Emails are replied to as quickly as possible and never later than 24 hours. And I send a thank you note to everyone who buys from me.

    Not social media in its current form.

    Social media as it used to be practiced by businesses before the Walmart syndrome and greed is good took over and dehumanised business transactions.

    Social media is literally going back to the future.

    We used to interact with our neighbours. The local shopkeepers. The postman/woman. Kids in the street. Passersby. The elderly next door neighbour.

    Until we simply got too busy and somehow thought it didn’t matter.

    We discovered it did. That we missed it.

    And embraced a new way to interact with a vengeance.

    We do it in cyberspace.

    Dino, it will be interesting to follow you on this journey. I love the posts.

    Best wishes and take care,


    Carol Jones
    Interface Pty Ltd
    Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover

  • Thank you so much Carol,

    The next installment will include several examples where purpose before profits makes for a great business strategy.

    Thank you again 🙂

  • Barry, this was great! These are exactly the same things that people who are reluctant are saying. Although, in some places it DOES take a geek to use social media effectively, like designing landing pages, analyzing analytics, creating call to action buttons, etc. All in all, your overall branding answer seems to cover it all

  • DINO,

    Greetings from rural Australia.

    What an insightful topic. I’m going to love following you!

    Best wishes and take care,


    Carol Jones
    Interface Pty Ltd
    Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover

  • The companies that are choosing to ignore social media in hopes that it will go away are very wrong. There will be plus side to those that choose to develop their online profiles early in comparision to those that wait. If your business isn’t participating, I bet your competition is…. The competition is helping those people in need and therefore turning them into clients while the other businesses wait by the phone. The world is revolving more and more around the internet and all that it offers, so what are you doing to take a hold of the opportunity? Great post!!

  • ana

    great post, but I really think you should not allow scam adds on such a cool site. Many people seem to have been ripped off from the “Google Pays Me $$$$ for working from home”. I believe that people that come to this site trust your reputation and you should not abuse this trust by allowing such adds on the site. It in unethical.

  • First, good article. The “fad” and “too hard to learn/do” just make me laugh when I hear it. Most people are pretty good with their cell phones, so that should discount that I need a geek to do this mentality.

    And as for the fad, I think I heard this before about something called “internet”. Hmmm. And let’s thrown in that website word and domain names while we are at it.

    The more a business, company, or solo professional delays getting established with social media, the faster they become obsolete and steadily lose more of their connection to customers/clients. Oh and the appeal of a less modern business will also hurt.

  • These days, more and more people want to find out how to make money on the Internet. There are a number of people who launch businesses or means of living online every day. They do this in the hope of generating profit and income in order to make ends meet, especially with the current recession and global financial crisis.

  • billysticker

    Great post. Many small business need to get on board. Their competitors love the fact that they’re not though. It’s such an effect way to build relationships, build your brand, rapport, etc. and it’s free (except for a little time.)

    It’s done wonder’s for my “How to Write a Book” business.

    Keep up the great post!

  • I must say, that here in South Africa, we are very far behind the rest of the world in terms of social media & the power it has to build brands online.

    Social media is such a hard sell here in this country. Most people use social media, on a social basis, but haven’t yet caught onto the idea that it can be used in business yet. And we have heard ALL of the above arguments and many more. Those who are starting to understand it’s value, still have reservations about whether or not to take the plunge.

    On a more positive note, we are starting to see a shift, where the bigger companies with household brand names, are starting to make use of social media.

    Apart from this, we find ourselves having to educate the South African public on social media – what it is & how to use it etc. And in this, we find our “niche”.

    It suffices to say, that I love the posts by all the authors/contributors to this site. I refer to them often when dealing with our skeptics over here 🙂

  • Wow. When I read the title I said to myself: “wow, I never saw this coming”
    Besides just like @ says “Being clear on what your customers are doing and why social media” It’s as if the tendency people have nowadays is start doing business through social media sites without performinf an initial market research, or even without getting to fully understan the ways in which social media sites should be used.

  • It’s a good article and alot of negativity found towards Social Media Networking. I feel although there are some good points made, my question is that non are real facts or statistically proven correct. I wouldnt say that it’s absolute jargon but then I wouldn’t say its absolute truth either.

    For example I personally use the aid of Social Media to promote and create an awareness for company Sprike Ltd and have found that Social Media alone has generated enough traffic which can be seen through my analytics report.

    It totally depends on how effectively Social Media Networking is done. If you check out Sprike website, you will find that it really emphasises SMO and it works very well!

    Thank you for the interesting post though.

  • Great post Barry – I was at a destination development workshop last week and half the crowd expressed the same 4 arguments you so elegantly sweeps of the table. There are still businesses in tourism still having doubts – amazingly

  • Thanks for your perspective, Erroin. As a member of a quite small organization (<50 employees) I can see your point. I cited some of the "heavy hitters" to make the case that they, with all of their resources, see the value in Social Media, so it is likely to be a worth a second look. The GREAT thing about it is, you really don't HAVE to be a Fortune 100 to get some real advantage out of it!

  • You are correct, Adrian! Using “Baby Steps” (to quote Richard Dreyfuss from “What About Bob?”) is the way to start.

  • Thanks, Ryan. I tend to focus on the “Devil’s Advocate” approach a lot in my work with clients and companies as well. Part of it is likely the way my “warped mind” works, and part is seeking to understand the “Why not?” to get to the “Why.”

  • You are correct. Seek to be unique.

  • Geek is not so bad, Brandon. My wife of almost 40 years says that the Geeks are the ones to stay with. Of course, we were called “nerds” when I was in high school.

  • Indeed, Stacey. Too many folks spend all kinds of time talking to customers about their product’s or service’s features rather than demonstrating the benefits to the people with the checkbooks!

  • I am on the same page as you, Cindy, thinking that anything called “Twitter” would have limited application to the real world, and reading many of the “tweets” out there (What are you doing? Typing inane information on my smartphone) supported that theory for a long time.

    I have since decided that it can be a really useful tool if I use it strategically AND professionally!

  • Thanks, Mario. Well-used tools and passion are a great combination, are they not?

  • Seems like even if it is a fad, so what. As business folk we should be asking “what is the best thing out there TODAY for my marketing time and dollars”. Right now social media is a part of that, tomorrow might be different. The key is to remain aware of what is happening so that you can adjust. What’s not a fad is your product and the market need – you should always be using the best media available to promote those. What do you think?

  • courtb

    I was exactly the same way concerning Twitter….From the time it really starting taking off to about 8 months ago, I made a point of never signing up for a personal account. In the beginning, it never even occurred to me that Twitter would be a business tool (a little wrong on that note for sure) let alone the monster marketing source it is today :-). I finally decided I should just go ahead and sign up just to see what all the fuss was about and I was instantly hooked! Not only did I discover it was an incredible source to obtain information about subjects I was personally interested in, I slowly started learning and easing my way into using it as a business resource. For either use, I haven’t regretted jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, as of yet ;-).

  • I love the trash on social media. Especially since you are embracing it so lovingly!

  • Some good inspiration in there. Shows that anybody can give Social Media a go, it’s not hard to use but is about the *way* you use it; it can be an extremely good tool for brand awareness.

  • You’ve definitely hit on the top four objections I hear consistently. Thanks for this to-the-point post that validates the necessity of social media….great resource.

  • Thanks, Twitter Fan.

    Although the “players” may change, I doubt that such applications will turn into hula hoops. In the meantime, they provide extraordinary resources for virtually anyone seeking to take advantage of them.

  • I continue to be amazed by how useful (or incredibly damaging) these resources are. My favorite quote (and it is mine, BTW) about this is “In cyberspace, EVERYONE can hear you whisper.”

    So be careful what you type!

  • Happily, Steven, SME already did.


  • I have often heard that the “leading edge is the bleeding edge,” and found it to be true. However, the bleeding edge here may be ignoring it. Personally, I’m inclined to let the “dust settle” around the “latest and greatest” before I jump in the pool.

  • Yes, yes, Courtney, thanks for this! You are correct. I often learn the most about how to use social media by noting what others do and doing the exact opposite.

    Frankly, in most cases, I don’t care “what they are doing right now.”

  • They are certainly factors. I have also met individuals from companies that are technology averse, some because they are fearful of losing employees, providing some competitors with intelligence on their products or services.

    Of course, both of those things are going to happen, precisely because they ignore social media!

  • Nice distinction, Pat. Thanks for sharing.

  • We didn’t even learn typing when I was in high school, in college prep classes. I took French, picked up typing in summer school. What was I thinking?!

  • Definitely a challenge, Pippa. I seek to balance my time on line with real conversations with humans, not avatars.

  • Sometimes just getting them to “dip their toe in” the water is all you can accomplish at first, Patty. I had a co-worker just last week be amazed that someone contacted me for a service request simply because we were connected on Linkedin.

  • Absolutely. I think these key applications (notably Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook) are becoming expected presences, just as websites used to be.

  • I must confess that I sometimes loathe the term ROI. Metrics are great, but they aren’t anything.

    I remember a quote from Marcus Buckingham I read some years ago in Fast Company: “Measure what matters. And what you’re measuring doesn’t matter.”

  • Great insight, Nehal. I have never been a “cool kid,” so my interest in social media was much more utilitarian. I am a bit of an iconoclast as well, so when people tell me I MUST see or do something, my first response is, “No I don’t!” I’m glad I took a second look at Twitter, for example, no offense meant to Ashton Kutcher.

  • OK, I will admit that higher levels of “geekness” are helpful, Briana!

    Your point for advance application of these tools is well taken. I defer to people much more clever in those areas than me for such peregrinations.


  • The “way you use it” is certainly a major key. I am still amazed at what people are typing these days! If you don’t want your Mom to read it, skip it!

  • Incredible, is it not, Claus? That’s OK, since it gives those of us who aspire to “get it” an edge.

  • Well said! (OK, well typed!)

  • So true, Omar. It would be akin to telling a customer that you don’t have telephones or just wired your business for electricity.

    That “fad” of the Internet seems to have caught on, hasn’t it?!

  • As is true with most worthwhile activities, Laura, there are risks involved, but all indications are that they are calculated risks!


  • Thank you Barry!! It was such a great post for people to see – those reasons are always out there! 🙂

  • Thanks for your perspective, Mark. You are certainly correct that the traffic potential is extraordinary.

  • I hated typing class. Fortunately, when I was just beginning a real estate career in the 80’s, I forced myself to learn to type with all 10 fingers, just so I would not be in the office for HOURS typing up a contract between buyer and seller! What a gift I gave myself because now, I am really using that skill! 🙂

  • Great post Barry, sorry I saved this post for the past few days as I have been quite busy but wanted to add my two cents anyway. These are without a doubt the four most common things I hear almost everyday. Social media is not something that is going away any more than the Internet is going away. Social media applications will continue to evolve and as such some will rise and others will fall. They are tools and should be viewed that way; don’t get bogged down in having to become an expert on what is hot now. Focus on what social media has done. As David Meerman Scott so eloquently put it “the rules of marketing and PR have changed forever.” The playing field has been leveled and the best way that I have found to educate the skeptics is through case studies. If you are meeting with a prospective client that happens to be a restaurant than bring a handful of success stories with you to show them what others have done in their niche. Speaking at them and using terminology that they don’t understand is a sure fired way to get them to say “Who is this guy?”

  • Good post. I keep hearing this and telling peeps otherwise.

  • PrintPlace

    I agree that social media is definitely a vital part of marketing these days. It’s a great way to stay connected with customers, as long as it is carefully monitored. A trap that I see a lot of small businesses falling into, though, is to use only social media to market their business — or at least very little of anything else. Social media marketing along will not carry a business, but combined with such ads as postcard printing, newspaper ads, referrals, and more, social media will be a powerful tool.

  • Cindy

    Thanks for an informative post. the headline sure caught my attention, especially as I invest a lot of my time into Social Media (esp Twitter). I enjoyed that you started off with the negative and then balanced that with what is really positive. I agree this is not going to go away soon. My favourite platforms are twitter and wordpress, then facebook. I’ve still to figure out youtube. But I love all of what these platforms offer. I only once said “they will never last” and that was to CD’s :), needless to say I was wrong! Now I watch what the experts are doing and what the big guys are up to, grab their coat-tails and enjoy the ride.
    @notjustagranny & @3days_in_london

  • Cindy

    Thanks for an informative post. the headline sure caught my attention, especially as I invest a lot of my time into Social Media (esp Twitter). I enjoyed that you started off with the negative and then balanced that with what is really positive. I agree this is not going to go away soon. My favourite platforms are twitter and wordpress, then facebook. I’ve still to figure out youtube. But I love all of what these platforms offer. I only once said “they will never last” and that was to CD’s :), needless to say I was wrong! Now I watch what the experts are doing and what the big guys are up to, grab their coat-tails and enjoy the ride.
    @notjustagranny & @3days_in_london

  • Guest

    Social media has been around for decades. Facebook is just the latest evolution. So, it’s not a fad, but I fear too many businesses think it (1) gives them measurable results on their advertising (2) provides for free advertising (3) gives them detailed targeting marketing data. Wrong on all 3 counts. We know that 90% of all Facebook content is generated by 10% of the hard core users. Many accounts are seldom used. And as soon as more people lose their jobs (or fail to get hired) from their postings, people will retreat from social networks. Indeed, within a year most people go “friends only,” so what’s social about that? We’ve been down this same path with Compuserv, AOL, eWorld, Live Journal, Myspace. Nothing new here . Next, content creation costs someone — and dearly. This post is worth $125 of copywriting time at my firm. So, it comes out of my pocket. (This is why blogs are so popular). Companies want their employees to blog for free on their own time? That doesn’t last long. Finally, advertisers are living in the 1950s thinking consumers still pass through predictable life stages. Remember that great ad campaign by Rolling Stone Magazine: Perception/Reality? Well, that’s the case with target marketing here. I’m 50 years old. Advertisers think I shop at Sears for polyester leisure wear, want a cruise vacation, an AARP membership, and every medical remedy under the sun. Suffice it to say my “life stage” more closely resembles a 30-year-old and I am offended by ads that constantly shove my chronological age in my face. Advertisers would be better off to ask me what “life stage” I identify with rather than ask my birthdate. And, no, I do not want birthday greetings from strangers.

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