Sunday, May 5, 2013

Is Staying Hip and Young on Social Media Worth it?

I read an interesting article in the New York Observer by Peter Hyman, a 45 year-old Gen-Xer, who mourns the lack of differentiation between generations these days. He writes,
"The old generational identities that once defined us have broken down, and the net result is a messy temporal mashup in which 40-somethings act like skateboarders, 20-somethings dress like the grandfather from My Three Sons, tweens attend rock concerts with their parents and toddlers are exposed to the ethos of hardcore punk."
The internet has made the hippest, most rad trends accessible to anyone with a computer or smart phone - regardless of age - who's willing to do the work to keep up. But doing that work, says Hyman, is exhausting. I totally agree.

Last weekend I attended then ASJA  (American Society of Journalists and Authors) conference in New York City, and the message was clear: you must have a significant online presence and use social media strategically and consistently to be taken seriously as a writer.

In addition to maintaining and promoting your blog, website and youtube channel, you have to have a killer Linkedin profile, a thousand Facebook friends, tweet generously with style and substance,  collect pictures and videos on your phone for instantly uploadable original content, show your creative point of view on Pinterest, and express your your sense of humor on Vine and Instagram.

You need to stay on top of all these sites and more to stay current in fashion, gaming, music, politics, parenting, health and national security. You also need to prove you have a "platform" (i.e. built in audience) to show you are serious and respected in your field so you can get work. Anyone who is anybody is doing this - even Michelle Obama (@FLOTUS) tweets! Of course, she's younger than me.

This week I've made a special effort to embrace social media. I've blogged and tweeted and Facebooked, but that's about all I've got in me. I'm not creating the clever little Vine videos my 19 year-old son Nick is so adept at. My daughter Emma, 16,  begged me not to get an Instagram account and I think she's right. I'm gonna leave those outlets of expression to my kids for now. There's got to be some generational differentiation in my home.

Besides, at some point all this time on the internet is not furthering my interests. It's just a lot of trivial communication and too much time sitting around on my aging ass. It's a gorgeous day! I've got a dog to walk and a garden to plant. Is staying hip and young on social media worth it? I know there is some value, so I'll keep at it. But for now, enough is enough. I'm signing off and getting out there to the real world to enjoy my day!
My computer screen can't compare to this today!


colette said...

I realized over a year ago that there was a price to pay to keep up (really keep up) on social media. That price was my family, my friends and just doing things I like. I stopped blogging and only occasionally visit twitter. It's just too much. I will go back to blogging eventually but I am doing it because I want to and no other reason, definitely not for an audience.

Marjie Killeen said...

Colette, I hear you! And when I spend my day walking around evaluating what I'm doing in terms of how I might tweet about it, I know I've really gone too far. I miss your blog though....

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