How well do people over 50 really understand social media? That's been the subject of plenty of summer comedies that feature aging, out-of-work characters that apply for summer internships at social media companies. Or more recently, John Favreua's “Chef,” in which the titular character loses his job when he fails to understand that responding to a poor restaurant review on Twitter is not a personal conversation. These quandaries are the stuff that movies are made of, but they are also major issues for the business world and boards of directors as well.
I have been involved in a number of discussions with corporate boards regarding how to ensure that board members understand the significance of “new technology.” With the average age of directors in Fortune 500 companies hovering in the mid- to late-60s, the issue is not inconsequential. New technologies may not be familiar to many corporate directors, and having a director with a particular expertise in new technology is becoming an essential part of board talent discussions.