This is the second in this series of articles about changing business environments. Technology is the topic – more specifically social media. Social media is websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are currently the leading social media sites.
I’m writing from a baby boomer viewpoint so there are mixed feelings about the topic. I grew up with black & white TV, boom boxes, 45 and 33 1/3 records, party-line telephone, mimeograph machines, 3-cent stamps, cursive handwriting, multiplication tables and other ancient things. The first computer I saw took up an entire room on the 10th floor of an office building in Omaha, Ne. I remember thinking that this piece of equipment would never threaten my career and besides who could afford anything close it to!
Today, every facet of our lives is touched by technology. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s an invasion and painful. The fact is that technology is coming at us faster than ever before. Another fact is that technology is here to stay so facing up to it and learning to make it work for us guarantees success. Technology is a tool to help us…not the other way around.
Making time to stay updated on social media, phones, fitbits and the new robots they just brought into your division (not kidding, but not really) takes planning and commitment. Here are some tips on how you can learn to let technology work for you:
- Decide why you’re using technology. Is it a platform to develop your personal brand? Why do you want or need a personal brand? Why use Linkedin instead of Facebook or Twitter? Why are you online? The answers to these questions will help you figure out the true reasons you’re using technology….primarily social media. I taught myself how to use social media because that’s how I learn best…I just starting pressing buttons and committed to figuring out the applications. I’m not a programmer and I don’t really care what happens behind the scenes in the cyber sphere….all I care about is that gives me a platform to communicate with others globally. It’s also lots FUN!
- Set aside 22 minutes every week to explore new stuff. Commit to learning something new about applications every week. One activity you want to complete is to create your profile. A profile is a short narrative about you…it’s your opportunity to talk about your value and accomplishments. Look at the profiles and summaries of others so you can get an idea of how to create yours. All the programs like Facebook etc. require a short profile about you. This is also part of the personal branding process. Here’s a very good article about personal branding-http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2015/06/14/5-steps-for-maximizing-linkedins-blogging-feature-for-personal-branding/
- Read What Would Google Do, Jeff Jarvis (2009), Start with Why. Simon Sinek (2011)
- Befriend a millennial who is NOT a family member…it’s way easier. Better yet, ask a millennial to be a co-mentor with you and you both win. Because this generation was born with an i-phone in their hand they can teach us SO much. Technology is second nature to them.
- Set yourself up for success. Break the process down into “bite sized” pieces so you’re not overwhelmed. We baby boomers are survivors and masters of reinvention. In order to survive and thrive in the age of fast-paced technology decide to make it work for you…you can do it….you won’t regret it!