Just after New Year’s, a friend told me she was spending three hours a day on Facebook. “How could you be wasting so much of your life!” I’d asked her — genuinely concerned that she was “stupid” for getting caught up in all the silly buzz.
How dramatically my own life has changed in four months!
That’s the purpose of this blog — to help my Baby Boomer generation, and my retired friends, and my career-contemplating students all discover how this major New Media revolution is changing Everything — and for the betterment of all.
1. Something “out there” for everyone: It’s not just Oprah, Demi Moore, Dave Matthews, and Barack Obama on Twitter. Thirty million other Tweeters plus around 300 million users each on MySpace and Facebook . . . and the list of social media participants goes on. A host of different platforms with a variety of advantages for people from widely different walks of life with a huge diversity of different interests. There is something “Out There” speaking to you — if you listen.
2. “Fountain of Youth”: Ask yourself what you “want” — to make you happier, more fulfilled, more connected, more ________________ [fill in the blank]. If you are one of the “elder” Baby Boomers like me, then one possible response might be: “I’d like to feel younger and, perhaps, more hopeful.” After having spent these several weeks learning/experimenting/engaging with the New Media and the communities of folks using them, I can appreciate the “Fountain of Youth” properties associated with being a young person just embarking on a new, exciting adventure.
3. DO something New: Laziness is not next to Godliness. Get off the couch and do something NEW.
4. Get “famous”: Think about someone like Susan Boyle – a 48-year-old Scottish woman with a magnificent voice, who thanks to the magic of YouTube and Twitter is now known worldwide and will get a chance to bring joy to multitudes. You, too, can be famous if you’d like. Read my first blog post.
5. Find answers: Is there anything you don’t know? I’m talking here to the men (who occasionally don’t like to admit lack of knowledge) as well as the women (who usually do know “everything,” right, ladies?) Not only are answers to your questions all over the internet, but you can discover new friends who share your interests by asking questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.
6. Be creative: Speaking of Twitter, it’s a very simple technology with tons of “applications.” That means any of us can shape the medium in creative ways. Lots of people may merely “text-message” friends and family, but some of us use it to discover new information available on the internet. It’s also a cool way to share personal insights that may be helpful to others. And its a great place to ask questions. On a more creative note, as an English teacher I found it useful in having my students frame a message of “substance” in 140 characters or less. I’d love to hear other creative uses people have for Twitter.
7. Keep in touch: Then there’s Facebook: you don’t have to spend three hours a day for this site to prove its value. Here are some of the ways it works for me: (a) keeping in touch with close friends and new acquaintances who don’t require phone calls; when you connect up with people on this site and they “update their status” you can make a comment and carry on a mini-conversation; (b) showing photos of your grandchildren; (c) letting family members know about the plays you saw on Broadway during your vacation — all at one time if they are on Facebook, too.
8. Start a blog. Set up your own soapbox and proclaim your views and knowledge to the world — online and, even, offline about any topics that excite you.
9. Be an explorer: Then there’s Friendfeed, Del.icio.us, YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Ezine, Squidoo, Technorati and the entire Blogosphere to explore.
10. Make Great New Friends: I made a new friend on Twitter one afternoon, and she said something that rang true for me, as well: “Honestly, nothing as exciting as this social media revolution has happened to me in decades.” Try it, you may feel the same.
Readers, do us all a great service: write a comment and share some of the reasons you believe Baby Boomers . . . of all ages . . . should embrace social media.