When you want to get to know someone in person, how do you generally accomplish that? Initially, you probably try to learn their characteristics, then you determine how to talk to them. The process is similar for online connections. First you want to get to know their demographics and their psychological traits (psychographics), then you find ways to communicate with them.
Assuming that the majority of the online COBOL-related audience are COBOL programmers, their average age would be 55. Also, in an Evans Data Corporation survey, 27.5% of software developers in the world are women. Thus, the demographic of an online COBOL audience is probably men around age 55. Based on this demographic, some psychographic information about this group is that they are conservative, upper-middle-class, and are followers. In addition, according to the survey mentioned, one-fifth of men software developers have a personal interest in the technologies they are using. Consequently, one in five of COBOL listeners have a personal interest in COBOL technologies.
Now that we have identified some characteristics of COBOL online listeners, one of the ways to find out how to communicate with this audience on social media is to search on Twitter. In this case, a Twitter search on #cobol came back with several related people to follow. Similarly, a search on COBOL in Google Trends resulted in 23 related queries and 19 related topics to investigate. In terms of Facebook communities, related groups and pages included a COBOL Programmers group with 16,000 members and a COBOL page with 3200 members.
It is important to remember not to initiate a conversation too quickly in an unfamiliar COBOL online community. Some are primarily for job postings and others are used to sell online courses. Become a listener. Get to know the demographics and psychographics of the group you are interested in before you start communicating.
What is your online style? Are you mainly a listener? Which online communities do you enjoy following?