I graduated from college before some of my most accomplished employees were even born. I’m headed back to Chapel Hill this weekend for my 30-year high school reunion. I’ve been noticing that a whole bunch of friends and business acquaintances my age seem to be flummoxed by this whole social media thing.
In the past week, I’ve had two phone calls from friends asking if they could take me to lunch so I could teach them all about social media. They know they ought to get on board, but they can’t figure out where to start or how. It’s kind of like getting on an escalator as a kid, when the steps are moving away from you faster than you can figure out where to hop on.
One of these friends is a serial entrepreneur who recently sold her specialty medical equipment company for several million. Kim’s now launching a change management company specializing in nursing homes. The other is a well-connected fundraiser in the area of world poverty. Carol spent many years at CARE, and now works with a foundation at Emory University, our alma mater where we met as sorority sisters. (Kappa Kappa Gamma. Secret handshake, anyone?)
Both of these people are naturals for social media. Kim is people person in the extreme. She talks to people wherever she goes, and leaves them laughing, every time. The governor appointed her to the board of public health, so now she hob knobs with everyone down at the capitol, sharing yucks with politicos from all over Georgia. Carol knows every influential person in Atlanta and can work a cocktail party like nobody’s business.
But she’s been reluctant to even fill out a LinkedIn profile. Carol seems a little suspicious of social media, like maybe there’s a big brother factor that kind of gives her the creeps. Or maybe she’s worried she just can’t parse it, despite her astronomically high I.Q.
Coincidentally, these two friends called when I was in the middle of developing a new Starter Cards deck titled “Build Your Brand with Social Media.” Two other titles we halfway seriously considered were “Social Media for People Over 30” and “Blogging for Boomers.” The deck breaks down the basics of social media into 52 manageable steps, one step per card, from joining social networks to promoting your own blog.
As I’ve been writing these cards, I’ve imagined that I’m explaining the process to these two friends. Not Millennials, no spring chickens. But smart, interesting people who could power their success by making connections and sharing their expertise.
Both lunches have had to be rescheduled, thanks to the various scheduling conflicts of busy people. I’m thinking that by the time we actually get together, this deck of Starter Cards will be back from the printer and already in their hands. And then we can spend our lunch dates just sharing personal news and telling funny stories. Anything, that is, that we haven’t already shared on Facebook.