I'm turning 40 next year. That makes me part of Generation X. We're the ones who didn't quite know what we wanted.
Now we are followed by Generation Y who, I am told (and I sense) have been born into a completely different world. The main differentiator: advances in technology. Specifically: the Internet. So, if you belong to Generation Y, look away, because this post will be of no interest to you.
I am writing this for those people who are around my age, or older, who are wondering what all the fuss is about socila media and whether they are missing out on anything by not using these new applications. I will only talk about Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (quel surprise!) because they are the ones I've come to understand and in some cases, even love. I am posting in March 2012 - it will be interesting to see for how long this remains relevant.
So, here is how I see and how I use these three phenomenoms. "I" being the key word here and helping me to make my first point: pretty much the same as with anything in life, find out IF they can be of help to you; find out HOW they can be of help and use them if they can make your life better.
It took me ages to join the Facebook club. I resisted it and I resisted it. For one, I've always been careful with whom I call a friend and Facebook has completely robbed the word of its original meaning.
I joined around November 2011, to try to promote my books and improve my search enginge ranking (i.e. my google presence). I don't think I've managed to make this work at all but Facebook has surprised me in other ways.
I run my Facebook presence a bit like I run my social life: I am very picky with whom I interact. I will accept a Friend request from almost anyone I know, because I appreciate people reaching out. (Before I continue: the way that you build your social network on Facebook is by either sending a request to someone to be your friend by clicking on a button on their profile page or by accepting a friend request that someone sends you.)
I have connected with people I was not close to in my "younger days" but who formed part of my childhood and as such, I am fond of them; I have connected with friends of friends and got to know them better; I have connected with people I've grown fond of late in life, when distance and different lives will not allow us to be close offline.
I've had really pleasant surprises when people I never expected to reach out, have; with people supporting my projects and getting involved; commented on my posts etc.
Still, I mainly approach it with a professional focus - sharing information related to my industry; sharing blog posts and asking my FF (that's Facebook Friends - glad this term is emerging) if they can review or try out my stuff. Then again, I've always involved my friends in my professional life in some form or other, so I'm back to the beginning, I use it pretty much as I operate in real life.
I'm keeping my number of FF small and still I'm sure I'm missing out on some shared gems, because of the sheer volume of updates there are. Still, it's a nice little place to hang out when you feel like doing nothing. Give it a try if you've stayed away, but think about your profile name, study your privacy settings and always log out after use.
Next Post: Social Media for the 40-somethings: Twitter.