I find myself in a unique generation when it comes to Social Media. I’m in my early thirties so I’m old enough to know a world before Social Media but I’m young enough to have “grown up” with it and understand its true value. This isn’t to say that other generations don’t appreciate the various benefits that Social Media offers, but I feel like my generation has a unique perspective.
Having entered the business world before the days of Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In, I had to learn to network the good-old-fashioned way – actually meeting people in person. This allowed me to develop my sales and networking skills to a near science. I still love a good cold-call. I didn’t have the advantage of (easily) researching my clients’ interests, community involvement, or business connections prior to meeting them. I had to work for that information and earn their trust. I think these skills have helped me develop in my career and have allowed me to really maintain the relationships I forged all those years ago.
I didn’t grow up following celebrities in any manner really, let alone a personal interaction on Twitter where they respond (if you’re lucky) to you directly. I didn’t grow up connecting with people all over the world in related studies or industries. Less some travel and a couple summer camps, I rarely connected with anyone outside the cities I lived in.
I was lucky though to be part of a generation that grew up with the technology boom. Personal computers, the internet, cell phones, social media, smart phones, tablets, and whatever the world will continue to bring us. We’re a naturally evolving generation that quickly eats up new technology and embraces it with vigor and excitement. As a result, I feel like Social Media is just natural for my generation. Having grown up without it and learning to implement it when introduced, we’ve been able to get in on the ground floor and really understand the value of Social Media. I remember when Facebook was mostly for college students, when most Americans played on MySpace (the old version, thank you) and I begged people to join me on Facebook. I remember when Twitter was not common language and you had to text 40404 to send a tweet.
For those of us that really LOVE Social Media, it’s up to us to share this passion while teaching the skills that make it really useful. We need to remind and teach the younger generations that, in business, there is a place and time for Social, and there’s a place and time for REAL interpersonal connections. Conversely, we need to show and explain to the older generations that while we can appreciate old-school communications, Social is how the world now communicates. We are so lucky to live in a world now where we can share our opinions and perspectives, our business, our products, and our value with a simple click of the mouse. So join me in just taking a minute to reflect on this gift and really appreciating it!