Social Media 101: From a Techno Dinosaur

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I’ve been out of the actual working world for 2 1/2 years in my bubble of fighting Stage IV colon cancer and raising my special needs/disabled son.  Wow-how the communication world has changed!  I’ve always been a sort of traditional, slow to change person in the world of technology.  As I type this, I’m not afraid to tell you that it is on an almost 7 year old laptop that I’ve brought back from the dead like 3 times, but that I refuse to give up because it’s pink (my formerly favorite color before my new sentimental favorite, blue, for colon cancer awareness).  I hang on for dear life with basic Word and Power Point – forget it with Google Docs or Prezi…that’s not happening!  Too much going on in my life to learn new technology.  So I embrace my “Techno Dinosaur” ways which team nicely with my “Think Extinct” plan and mantra to beat down cancer for good…(see my website; prehistoric times have never been so relevant!)

I spoke at the Early Age Onset – Colorectal Cancer Symposium in New York City last weekend.  It was fantastic!  I was back in my element – contributing to thought provoking discussions around lowering the screening age and more focused dialogue between provider and patient about diagnosis.  Big Stace was BACK!  In the groove and using my skills.  So that part of it was awesome and comfortable!

What threw me for a loop was that people don’t listen to presentations any more and take notes.  Noooooo sir!  Those days are long gone!  NOW, people are “social media’ing” the whole time – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Live Stream…take your pick.  Hashtags, photos, posts, etc. At one point, I texted my husband and he texted back “You’re being rude!  Listen to the presentation!” And I texted, “NOBODY is listening to the presentation!  They are all on their devices DOING; not listening!”

Let me be clear – this is an observation; not a criticism.  It is the “new” participation.  It’s almost like you are not engaged if you are not on social media.  If you’re not promoting your event via social media, you’re not doing your job, so it’s a key pillar of effective marketing.  But after seeing this behavior, it really impacted me as a speaker to change how I present.  Since people are multi-media’ing the whole time, they only catch snippets of what you present.  So you have to find ONE thing/slide/message, and DRILL IT, because trust me, that is the ONLY thing they are going to remember.  Back in the old days, that was pretty much the case because of people’s short attention span or lack of focus.  NOW that is compounded one thousand fold by the distraction of technology.  And this type of short-sightedness really mirrors now how we get our information in general – by scrolling through snippets on our devices.  It has become a give it to me now, snippet world, my friends, so you better make it good!

Above in my title, I promised a little tutorial of sorts on social media from a 46 year old, behind the times mom (who just happens to have cancer and a special needs/disabled child).  So I’ll make this short and simple, in snippets so you can scroll through it…(I’m catching on)

  1. Facebook – for the 25+ crowd; to post pictures and commentary, as much or as little as you want
  2. Snapchat – for the younger crowd; when a picture can get a point across and then be out of sight and mind
  3. Instagram – combination of pictures and short verbiage
  4. Twitter – this seems to be the one that best promotes an event or a cause; it’s instantaneous and grabs people’s attention quickly to involve them in a moment
  5. Live Stream/Podcast – such a great way to improve accessibility to an event or a topic for those who otherwise couldn’t be a part of it due to limitations or disabilities

I was gathered with 3 of my “inner circle” friends in January and we exchanged New Year’s resolutions.  One of mine was to “utilize and disseminate purposeful media.”  In other words, no random observations on Facebook.  But rather I would use social media to educate, inform, and raise awareness.  Let’s be honest – opinions are like a******s; everybody has them, so really, no one cares what you think.  But when you give people a reason to get involved with something bigger than themselves to make the world a better place, that is empowering and impactful!  You have to be about a cause beyond just yourself.  What is your higher purpose?  What is your mission?  What mark will you leave on this world? Yes, raising good and respectful children is certainly part of it, but it’s the setting the example of your own global responsibility first…and then passing on to them.  Let’s make social media positive, proactive, and passionate for yourself and for everyone else around you…teach, not taunt…preach, not point…rally, not rant, and most of all make those snippets special!  Now excuse me while I check to see if I am trending…

 

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