Test My Brain? I don't think so.

This past summer has been a social media trial by fire for me. In addition to preparing a presentation on the topic for a conference, I also posted news stories—relentlessly—on our SM channels from the State Bar Convention.

Here is my editor’s column for the July/August issue, which was just mailed to readers.

An airline seat-back pocket is more likely to yield an airsickness bag than insight into the adoption of developing technologies. But I had just that alternative happy result on a recent flight.

The occasion was my return trip from Washington, DC, where I had attended a media conference aimed at association publications people (niche much?). While there, I had the opportunity to present a seminar with two collaborators. Our title was “Make the Connection: Engage Your Members Using Social Media” (my proposed title had been “Social Media for the Antisocial,” but the “democratic” process opposed it).

My fellow panelists were creative services pros (i.e., advertising and marketing) who really knew what they were talking about. My role on the panel was to represent an association person’s view. You know, small resources, large opportunities.

The audience appeared to enjoy it, courteously overlooking my dearth of skills. But it was on the return flight that I had my best technology revelation.

As I reached forward my allotted five and a half inches toward the seat-back pocket, I expected an in-flight magazine or maybe, if I grew really bored, the SkyMall catalog. But my hand encountered an obstruction.

Reaching in—carefully—I extracted a glossy black plastic box. The obelisk that stumped characters in 2001: A Space Odyssey was immediately identifiable to the parent of a teenage child. It was a Nintendo DS.

Clearly, the former occupant of Seat 17D had vacated the plane too quickly, leaving behind a miniature entertainment device. My first impulse was to feel bad for the kid who had lost it. I imagined the haranguing he or she was receiving for being careless with expensive things.

It was my second impulse that led to my discovery. For it occurred to me that although I would certainly try to get the item back to its owner, there was no need to do that immediately. I mean, I had almost five hours of flying ahead of me. I may as well try my hand(eye) at whatever it was that occupied our youth. So I turned it on.

“Brain Age”? What was that? Expecting leaping, jumping and shooting, I instead saw word problems, brain teasers and maddening obstacle courses.

I gave it a try for a bit, but it felt too much like school. And besides, I wasn’t sure I want to know my brain age. I summoned the flight attendant and returned it to his care, ensuring that he wrote down the seat number.

Besides revealing my mental deficit, the exercise also exposed my technology prejudices, which many of us share.

I had assumed that neat, cool gear is owned and used by youth. But the Brain Age demographic ain’t high school. I had to hand it to a generation that would use a Nintendo game player to improve neurological function. Sure, some of us may prefer the SkyMall catalog, but fortunately we are not the majority—just as youth are no longer the majority in social media.

And I thank Bar members for sharing their insights about social media. In advance of my meeting presentation I had asked for your suggestions, and quite a few of you responded.

To conclude, here is one of the many things I learned in creating my presentation: “Social media is the land of the unpolished but often genuine experience.”

Let me know if you agree. Write to arizona.attorney@azbar.org.