3 Questions to Help You (or your parents) Decide: Social Media (or not!) for Baby Boomers

Social media for boomers

If you are already tweeting, posting and selfie-ing away, then this article is not for you.

This article is for those people who secretly, bashfully confide at a dinner party “I’m not on any of those things, but I really should be.”

But the real question is…should you?  At 50+, doing something just because everyone else is, is so…millennial!  Plus, social media or any form of technology shouldn’t be the purpose or the end, it’s the tool to help you achieve your goals.  So the real question is, are there goals/activities/tasks you have where social media or social networking can help?

Here are a few things to help you answer that question.

1. Are you still working, consulting or looking for a job?

If so, Linked In may be helpful to you.  In the world of “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” LinkedIn can help in keeping track-of or maintaining connections with your professional contacts—but do note, for it to work well, it’s important to only connect with people who you know in real life.  This can help, for example, when you want to see if anyone you know has a contact at a company where you are applying for a job.

Or, perhaps you are looking for a speaker from a particular organization for an upcoming function.  It’s much easier to say “our mutual friend Steve suggested I call you,” rather than make a cold call.  Linked in can allow you to do this, by entering names of people or companies with which you want to connect into the search bar (once you have created an account and logged into Linked in from your computer, laptop or mobile device) and seeing who within your network of connections knows someone.

Linked in is also a great place to look for jobs, as many companies are now using it for this purpose as well, or for writers (professional or budding), it’s a great place to share and post links to your work.

2. Do you have family and/or friends across the country?

Your cousin has moved to California, but you’d still like to check in and see how the kids are.  Or maybe you want to reconnect with friends from college.  Facebook is a great place to stay connected with people who you know personally, such as friends and family, particularly if you are challenged with keeping track of addresses (both physical and email), phone numbers, etc..  It’s a way to cure that itch when you think of “whatever happened to old so and so…”

Connecting with old flames aside (usually frowned upon by current spouses), Facebook can be a way to share your milestones, make a lunch date with that cousin when you’re in California, share photos of funny events, ask for advice for places to go, or, at least, make your birthday a national holiday!  There’s nothing like Facebook (if your birthday is posted as public, minus the year) for everyone you know to send you good wishes.

3. Do you have a particular passion or hobby?

…and wish there was an easy way to find out who else shared your interest or where you could find the latest trends or articles on your topic?  Then Twitter may be for you.  Twitter, you may say, “wait…nobody needs to know if I just ate a sandwich,” and indeed you are right.  Not only does nobody need to know, nobody cares.  But that’s also a misconception about Twitter, perhaps from when it first came out (although there are probably some who still use it that way.)

Twitter is great way to build a presence and reputation that is national and even international, if you are actively tweeting.  It’s also a great way to keep up to date, learn tips related to your areas of interest, connect with like-minded people, get news, links to articles, on topics that interest you, by simply following other people who are actively tweeting.  Once logged into Twitter, just put a # (formerly known as a “number sign” now called a hashtag) in front of a word you want to search, as in #cookies or #worldpolitics, and voila, you could stay busy the rest of the day just following links and reading.

And back to “shoulda-coulda-woulda…

If there’s one good thing about getting older, it’s that you (hopefully) become more clear about what makes you happy.  If your teenager scowls when you talk to him, but responds to witty texts—it may be worthwhile to learn how to text.  If you really do love looking at funny pictures of kittens (as apparently millions do) you may want to get more familiar with YouTube.   Or, maybe you really are extremely funny or constantly have interesting or odd observations about people and life that others would like—why not post them (probably twitter, or maybe Facebook)..who knows, maybe you will get a book deal down the line!

And if you are perfectly content where you are?

That’s okay too.  So when asked, just respond with confidence:

“I’m aware of the various social media tools available, I just actively choose not to use them.  They don’t serve my current life purpose, and I’m okay with that.”

Photo Credit kropekk_pl on Pixaby