Are You Too Old for Social Media?
Intro to Social Media for Baby Boomers
Social media and baby boomers. You would think that those two phrases would go hand in hand. Every generation has core values, and baby boomers are known for being hard working, motivated, independent, goal-oriented and competitive. So why wouldn’t they embrace Social Media? It's a great way to network and exchange ideas.
For all the good that comes with being a Boomer, sometimes we struggle with younger generations who have not yet paid their dues and might not believe in long work weeks. Well, unfortunately for boomers, social media is the preferred means of communication for our children, gen x and millennials. If you really want to know what is going on in your children’s lives you need to start using social media. I know - I was just like you and resisted it. I didn’t see the sense in sending tweets or texting – it was far too easy to pick up the phone and have a conversation. Well, the truth of the matter is that this is the world we have created for our children.
As Baby Boomers we have culturally put so much emphasis on being productive and gaining an edge that we've created great ways to multitask. What we didn’t expect was how multitasking would go beyond our workplace and take over our communication, resulting in social networks. If you're looking to embrace the social media networks that keeps our kids captivated, here’s a brief intro to some of the most popular:
Twitter a social network built around "micro-blogging" messages of 140 characters or less. You can share links and images can be shared with your followers, strike up public or private conversations through a variety of personal tweets. It's the new generation's version of passing notes in class, but with the added discretion of being an iPhone app. Get started by learning how to use Hashtags on Twitter for dialogue here!
Currently reigning as the largest social media network, each individual's Facebook page acts as a year book documenting what they've been up to in real time. You can head straight to your friends Facebook profiles to scope out their family pictures or receive updates in real time via the Facebook feed, which compiles information conveniently. Turns out, you can't eat a Facebook like. Learn why here!
If I had to pick a social media network that seems to come naturally to us boomers, I'd think immediately of LinkedIn. Profiles on this major social media network resemble a resume more than a yearbook page. You can fill out information on educational background, prior jobs and recommendations, and use the network to connect with others.
The beauty of LinkedIn is that it will show you not only who you know directly, but who your network knows and even 3rd-degree connections. The numbers are astounding. By the time you consider the reach of 3rd level connections, it is not unusual that you will have in excess of 1,000,000 people in your network. What this means it might not take more than three phone calls to land a dream job or hire just the right candidate. LinkedIn is simply astounding and more importantly, it really works. I have made contacts, friends, found jobs and opportunities on a regular basis on LinkedIn. Learn how to get started optimizing your LinkedIn profile here.
Foursquare is more like a game than a networking event, and many people don’t see the value initially. The concept is simple and the tone is pure competition. You can “Check In” at a locations, which can include anything from grocery stores to hotels, receiving points for every check-in. As you grow your friend network, Foursquare keeps a running tally of who among your personal network has the most points.
A growing number of brick and mortar stores are finding that Foursquare offers free publicity. Many restaurants routinely offer discounts if you check in, or even a free appetizer or dessert. You can also leave photos of the locations as well as "tips," reviews of your personal experience. This is a great way to keep businesses honest and to give constructive feedback without having to be confrontational.
While it is true that Pinterest is currently dominated by women – no site tells you more about your interests and hobbies than Pinterest. On Pinterest, you can either upload your own photos or “Pin” other people’s photos to a series of boards, kind of a perfectly-portable scrapbook concept. The network is a great way to keep lists of places you want to visit, recipes, decorating ideas and other things you like. To learn a little more about why Pinterest has the potential to change marketing, see here!
Speaking from personal experience, the key to social media for baby boomers is to just get started. You should not be intimidated by social media , even if your kids with think that you are trying to be hip and will make fun of you. Just remember in few more years, they'll be in your shoes trying to keep up with technology, too!