Do you have your head in the sand when it comes to the growing trend in social media networking? If so, this could be an interesting blog for you. How we communicate with the world has changed drastically over the last decade. We’re able to check our emails and look up information on the go as smartphones have become much more than just a means to speak to our friends. Just look to see how many times we check them for notifications! According to the Nielson Social Media Report, it’s not the Millennials that are the heavy social media users, it’s Generation X (the 35-49 age group) that spend the most time on social media – with an average of 7 hours per week, compared to 6 hours per week for the Millennials.
Despite the fact that I rely on social media to help me run my online business (www.nadjasgermany.com), I do think there should be a healthy balance between smartphone usage and living in the ‘real’ world. Believe it or not, I do make a conscious decision not to get my phone out or to leave it at home sometimes. However, it has become a big part of our lives and we really don’t want to miss out on anything! Here are some great reasons why we should discover what social media can do for us as well as some handy apps.
You don’t need to be tech savvy
You might very well be thinking that you’re just not into modern technology or that it’s really only for the younger generation. Well, think again! You don’t need to master everything all at once – taking small steps really is key to learning a new skill. The most important thing is not to be afraid of finding your way around the world of social media. It might seem that everyone else is much more knowledgeable about social media apps but in reality, most smartphone users of my generation (born in the seventies) only really know the basics.
Facebook is the biggest networking community
Even though Facebook has been in the news recently for misusing its users’ data, it’s still, by far, the dominating social networking platform. It’s managed to convince millions of ‘non-users’ to start using its platform for social networking. I must admit, I was a reluctant user until a couple of years ago! Nowadays, more and more people over the age of 40 have joined the millions who already use social media.
Being social is ageless
I think a great example is Angela, a 70-year-old social media manager from www.trustedhousesitters.com. When she was interviewed on BBC Breakfast in November 2017, she explained how social media is just about being social and that is ageless. Her passion for pets along with her enjoyment of travelling around to look after other people’s pets in their own home brought her into this completely new world.
What a great story! We should never stop being curious or have the willpower and confidence to learn something new. Watch the video of Angela’s interview for the BBC here
If you don’t have a Facebook account yet, this video explains how to set one up very well.
How social media could benefit your life
Let’s imagine you are planning your next holiday or short break and have decided not to go to a travel agent to find your ideal holiday. You might have a destination in mind – whether it’s France, Spain, Italy or something further afield. But you’re not quite sure and there’s that all-important budget to consider as well. This traditional method of planning your holiday usually works well if you’re going for a package deal – with transport, hotel and maybe some activities included if you’re not using an online travel agent like Kayak, Secret Escapes, Expedia or others.
Creating a unique experience
The way we plan our holidays has changed drastically over the last couple of decades – particularly since the no-thrills airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair have been gracing our skies. Nowadays, we are looking for a more unique experience, to connect with the locals and create our own itinerary. In the past, we would spend hours sifting through the travel section of newspapers or magazines, watched travel programmes on TV as we tried to decide where we’d like to spend our summer break. Once the internet became available, we would then spend hours searching for our dream destination. But all this took time – and a lot of it!
Social Media is about the community idea
Social media can be really useful because it makes the planning and decision process more manageable, more exciting and certainly more sociable. Pinterest, for example, is a great tool to collect interesting ideas from other users and be able to keep them all in one place. According to Omnicore, Pinterest has about 175 million active monthly users. Let’s say you were always toying with the idea of travelling to Germany, you could create your own pin board ‘Germany’. You might be a yoga lover, a passionate baker, crafty, a pet lover, a cyclist or you’d like to redecorate your living room – you could create any board you like to get ideas.
I must say, it’s thrilling once you know your way around! But do take care not to let it take over your life. Recent studies have shown that it can become addictive with our constant need to check what others have pinned or how many people have shared our pins. Again, don’t overuse it – everything in moderation is most definitely the right way to go.
If you’d like to watch a short video on how to use Pinterest, click here.
I hope I’ve made you curious enough to experiment a little with this new technology. Trust me; it’s fun as long as you find a good balance between real life and the virtual world. As with anything, you’ll only know how it might be of benefit if you give it a go.
See you soon