I gulp and hesitate at the thought of tackling the subject of social media. I am not a techie person. I have always held an aversion to tech, even when working on a trading floor a million years ago. My heartbeat increases thinking about social media. Then it becomes clear to me that many feel this way. Many have a sense of uneasiness regarding social media awareness no matter what their level of tech savviness. I am not alone. You are not alone. Let’s start this conversation together. Gently.
I have an aversion in general to both the uncontrollable and unpredictable. This means I start at a distinct disadvantage regarding technology. I still hate it when my iPhone iOS updates overnight, and I can’t find certain features in the morning. It’s beyond irritating and annoying to me. Is it really necessary to have these updates so regularly? I clearly do not have a growth mindset with social media. I have more of an ostrich mindset: hide from what makes you nervous and all may be alright.
Except it won’t be.
The tech world is evolving and will continue to do so with or without me. I will be left behind. I want to be the Grandmother who can communicate with her willing grandkids on their current platform. I want to be knowledgeable so communication with my family and friends will be easy and frequent, enabling me to embrace a full and happy life. That is one of my goals. It will be easier for my children to communicate with me if I am “current”. Social media facilitates communication, and it is for this reason that we must embrace it.
I am pleased to report that I am evolving and am increasing my understanding and use of social media. The problem is the learning curve continues to be steep as new variations constantly emerge. I finally became comfortable with FaceBook and then others started using Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok. This will evolve again to whatever tomorrows in vogue application will be. What is required is the resilience to be a Constant Learner. No longer can we fear the unpredictable.
Tech Savviness Ladder
Everyone has their own level of tech comfort – or dis-comfort. It’s measurable in on what I call The Tech Savviness Ladder. It is important to understand our placement on this Ladder and that this placement is fluid. We will ascend through perseverance, that we will also descend again as social media is constantly evolving. Don’t be disheartened! Believe in the benefits of being a Constant Learner and that using social media is vital for the fullness of your life. Let’s understand and start to climb the Ladder.
At the bottom of this Tech Savviness Ladder is the group we will call the “Deniers”, those who still don’t own an iPhone or Android. They don’t want to, or can’t figure out where to, start this uncomfortable journey. They deny the need of social media and merrily go on their way ignorant of its advantages. You don’t want to be in this Group and if you are, start climbing! A tad along this savviness scale are the social media “Voyeurs” who watch other people’s posts but don’t engage themselves. Again, start climbing if you are here. The next rung is dedicated to those I call “Dabblers”, who lightly engage with social media and post every so often. They are informed with a general, across the board knowledge of the applications they use. Finally, we have the last cohort at the top of this Tech Savviness Ladder, the “Regular Users”, who are tech-comfortable and confidently use many social media platforms regularly and often. This is the ideal place to be.
“Dabblers” comprise the largest group of our age demographic. They are constrained by a lack of experience, some hesitation, and perhaps even a little worry. However, this group needs to be open to proactive learning. I am a “Dabbler”, not sure I really want to learn more, yet aware that I must strive to stay current with social media as I am already transfixed- even hooked- by its allure and the vast information base my iPhone can provide.
I admit I use my iPhone too much: I now reach for my iPhone when I first wake up, reluctantly put it away at meals, and refer to it on a frightening regular basis every waking hour. However, the more I use my iPhone, the more it becomes clear to me that there is so much I don’t know or understand. Perhaps I am a modern-day Alice in Wonderland peering reluctantly down a tech rabbit hole, curious but also worrying about what and whom I may meet in this unknown world.
I have evolved from an ostrich mindset and am reaching to the next rung to become a “Regular”. But is this good?
We Must Climb The Ladder To Live Our Fullest Lives Possible
For many of us, climbing to a new rung on this experience ladder represents huge obstacles which must be overcome - fear, hesitation, confusion, and even embarrassment. But overcome we must. Yes, the climb will be daunting - but I promise it is necessary and will also be hugely enriching and rewarding.
We must proactively try to ascend this experience ladder for one vital reason: To live our fullest lives possible. To achieve this, we must engage in an informed way with the information available through social media. Let’s be brave and explore this tech rabbit hole to reap its benefits!
Social media can provide us with more regular, enhanced, and cost-effective communication with our loved ones. It can also enrich our personal lives by providing means to enhance our hobbies, health and friend network.
Becoming comfortable with social media can provide us current means of communication with our friends, children, and grandchildren. Staying “current and relevant” with our younger generations by being able to use FaceTime or Skype - or even exchanging TikTok videos - eases their burden of the communication obligation. No longer do they have to be constrained to schedule or pay for a land line phone call. We can now pick up the phones spontaneously and actually see our loved ones for a free video chat. Social media provides spontaneity and the more communication and experiences you share, the stronger a relationship will be. Climb the ladder for the sake of your relationships.
Social media also provides many opportunities to expand upon your skills and interests. Join Groups on FaceBook which support your hobbies. The list is endless- whether it be gardening, sports, travel, bee keeping, pets, or playing cards or board games, like chess or backgammon (my favourite). Explore Books on your iPad and join BookClubs on FaceBook. The list is endless. Go find your Group!
There is an undeniable benefit to your heath as well. We all know there are numerous nutrition and exercise apps which can monitor your caloric/macro intake and daily exercise. Let’s use them! Whether we are monitoring calories or steps, using these apps and reading their information feeds will be completely educational and beneficial.
The important message is: No matter at what level you start, all of us benefit from climbing one more rung on this Tech Savviness Ladder. Let’s have the courage to increase our comfort level and knowledge. After all, social media is here to stay.
In my next blog I will discuss how to start climbing the ladder and the pitfalls to be aware of along the way.
Let's believe in ourselves! We can do this...together.