As a parent of young adults, Professor of emerging adults and yet a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, trying to navigate my way through this new world of social media is a bit like tip-toeing through a mine (or mind) field. I am aware that not all social media venues are the same; their respective differences are important to keep in mind or what I try to communicate may just blow up in my face. Yikes! To try to ensure safe passage, I find that my brain translates the various social media platforms into associations with which I am familiar.
- Twitter: Thoughts in the shower. I think best under water so this is one of my favorite platforms. Yet, I have learned to withstand jumping out of the shower and immediately throwing my “brilliant” thoughts out there for the world to read. I try and live with “no regrets” as a motto, and so I shut-up as much as post up.
- Pinterest: Post-It Notes. Organizing all my random, creative ideas into different categories is so helpful to me, and hopefully others. For the “Tigger” in me who loves to jump from idea to idea, this is an ideal social media tool.
- LinkedIn: Water-cooler Conversations We don’t have a water cooler at work, but we do have a coffee station; it’s the same idea. I can share my experience, educational background, new career aspirations and ideas with colleagues who are like-minded.
- Facebook: Coffee with Friends. This is catch up time, random thoughts, funny moments, prayer requests, family photos, what I ate for lunch Tuesday afternoon, and what’s new at work all rolled into one. Close friends and new acquaintances alike, I share my life, my passions and my family moments.
- Instagram: Sharing photos with clever quips at a family reunion. I share my life with others to laugh, cry and cringe over; both my very special and my everyday moments are included. Who doesn’t want to see what I ate last week for breakfast as we sit down to a family get-together?!
Social media is a new way to do an old thing. From the beginning, we as people were created to communicate and connect with one another. We are created in God’s Trinitarian Image (Imago Dei). While what this means has been debated throughout church history, we find that whether we focus on our qualities, our functioning, or our relational attributes that we share with God, we are inherently meant to communicate and connect with one another. Ultimately, this is the goal of social media – to communicate in order to connect.
As a Baby Boomer, none of these sites existed when I was a child, adolescent or young adult. They are new to me – but not to my adult children. These are common, everyday ways to communicate and connect for them. And, this next generation coming up will never know a time when Social Media did not exist. That is a mind-blowing thought.
Dear Reader, I hope my above guide helps you navigate the ever-morphing technological world. I wanted to communicate my quick and quirky guide with you, to connect in fun, helpful and ever-more meaningful ways. It means the world to me that you read this blog.
Until we next communicate and connect, Blessings Abundant – Elizabeth