The Secret of Social Media

The Secret of Social Media


The day will come when those of us living right now will all look back and say, “I remember the when social media was just starting out!” We will be able tell stories to our grandchildren about Facebook and LinkedIn, and those names will seem as distant and strange as Studebaker and Hupmobile sound to us today. We will talk about the pioneers of cyber space the way our granddads use to talk to us about braking their arms while cranking the Model T Ford, or how the family would all huddle around a gigantic radio set in the middle of the living room listening to Gene Autry and Orson Wells.

My grandfather was born in 1902. He could remember riding a horse to school, tying it to a hitching post outside the classroom, and sitting in a one-room schoolhouse with 15 other kids getting an elementary education. He told me about his first adventure ride in a Model T Ford and how they had to stop about every 20 miles or so to change a tire or repair a flat. He got married in 1922. Within a few years, he and his wife bought a second-hand car. He drove his little bride wherever she wanted to go because she didn’t know how to drive! She didn’t understand how cars worked and she wasn’t interested in learning. She died in 1984 and never got behind the steering wheel of a car one time in her entire life. Strange? Maybe, but today my wife isn’t much interested in having a Facebook page either. She has her fears, just like my grandmother had fears about the automobile. To my wife, social media is a waste of time. I respect her choice, but she will be part of the social media illiterate that will define an enormous percentage of people over 50 in our culture today. They are not likely to ever become very proficient in social media.

When my great-great grandfather immigrated to the United States from Scotland in 1852, he didn’t know how to read and write. Those were skills that weren’t needed back then in order for him to earn a living or make his way in the world. Today we look back at his generation and wonder how anyone could get by without basic literacy. But it’s no different from what is happening today in terms of technology. The young generation coming up today is stupefied that so many adults in the culture are incompetent in terms of social media. They are right to be perplexed by such hesitancy. The skills and technologies of the internet, and particularly the mastery of social media, are as important for success in business and career building today as reading and writing were a century or so ago. If you aren’t on board right now, what are you waiting for?

So what is the secret to social media? Simply this: learn to use it! Set a goal to master it! Create a blog that has a purpose and then blog regularly. My father was 86 years old when he passed away last year. He was the only man his age that I knew who was on Facebook. He had hundreds of friends and loved making connections on the Internet. He carried his iPad with him everywhere he went. He used it everyday. He saw a vision of the future and he wanted to be part of it. So how did a man in his 80s learn to use Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest? He just got on there and started clicking until he figured it out. He got behind the wheel of the car, so to speak, and started driving. Even at his advanced age he saw the remarkable potential of staking one’s claim in cyber space.

My goal this year is to become very proficient in the use of social media, web building, and Internet literacy. I want to know all the ins and outs of WordPress, Facebook, and Instagram. You should do the same. Why? Because it’s the future and the future is here, right now. And, of course, knowing it will help you Get Where You’re Goaling!