Facebook? Facebook! Facebook … I’m a Baby Boomer reviewing this astounding social media networking site boasting 400 million members and growing daily. Do you realize the membership of Facebook exceeds the current population of the U.S. by over 30 percent? Our population was reportedly 307 million last year. Mark Zuckerberg and his pals founded Facebook in 2004 in Cambridge, MA as a means of communicating while still in college. But I doubt they had a CLUE about the revolution that would ensue.
So why in the world am I, a Baby Boomer, writing about this? Shock of all shocks, I’ve got a personal page on Facebook and a business page on Facebook. I’ve realized that it’s fun personally and a growing number of businesses are finding it fruitful to have a presence on the site. It is not a kid’s game. Advertisers use it because people spend 500 billion minutes on the site per month!! Here are some Facebook statistics that are numbing.
Because I have grown my relocation business Moving Links 4 You via my online presence, I was recently asked to help a couple local non-profit organizations get started. I thought it would be a wonderful exercise to spend some time helping them while re-examining the various sites I use to improve my own presence.
Social media networking is SO BIG these days with more to learn all the time as it continues to morph. Remember when Yahoo was the big search engine? That was just a few years ago. Now it’s Google, but there’s nothing to say how long that will be the case.
For that very reason, I’m enrolled in the current Social Media Summit 2010 offered online each Spring. I’m learning a ton and additionally connecting with some “Big Dogs” such as Michael Stelzer from Social Media Examiner and Guy Kawasaki of Alltop fame. I know they will be ongoing resources for me to help me stay in the know. Pretty cool. Mark your calendar for May, 2011, for the next summit if you’re at all interested in keeping up to speed with social media. I’ve got a ton of material to help me over the coming months.
I remember when it started for me. My friend, Maria, suggested I check out LinkedIn the summer of 2007. It was all Greek to me but, for whatever reason, I scoped it out. That was the beginning of a pretty interesting venture on a few levels. It started slowly but started to pick up speed about 6 months later.
I have social media to thank for me launching my national relocation services. It expanded my horizons, opening up new opportunities. Social online media is a match for me with my enjoyment of connecting with folks from across the U.S. and world. It feels natural for me to be here. While in grade school, I had a pen pal from New Mexico, which was very special then. Now I have lots of pen pals from many states and countries, no stamps required. Is that cool or what? Maybe not to the post office but to me it is quite clever!
You don’t have to go far to get into a conversation with anyone about Facebook. Ask your kids or grandkids. It’s a way to keep up with them. I have a Blackberry so have Facebook downloaded on it and can respond to messages from my phone – great for family communication if you so choose.
Because we are allowed to upload endless pictures, it’s been a great way for me personally to keep up with a world traveling son, Will Lascelles, recently in Kashmir, India, working on a ski and cultural movie with Anthony Bonello called B4Apres. That was even enough to get my husband off the dime to join, just so he could view Will’s pictures directly rather than through me. Mind you, it’s not something he’s interested in. He’s limited his connections so far to three (yes, I’m one of them!) while mine are inching toward 600. While so many are finding FB to be a good fit for different reasons, there are always those who just can’t be bothered. Of course, there were always those who couldn’t be bothered with the flashing 12:00 on their VCR machine, either! Flash! Flash! Flash! (Strange. I was one of them! It just goes to show you Facebook might be worth checking out.)
I could go on for DAYS about FB but there’s no sense me doing that since so much has been written already. I suggest you check out this Facebook Guide to help you determine if there is a good reason to register at www.facebook.com. If you are taking the time to read to this point, you’ll have to admit you’re just slightly curious, if not greatly curious. Anyone from 13 years old on up with a valid email address can register. Don’t you want to know what your family is up to? Facebook will help you keep up with the world your kids and grandkids are mixing in.
Don’t tell me you are too old. I suggest strongly that you are not. I have a friend named Lee, retired from engineering and traveling all over the world, who is my eldest connection. He will be 92 this year and is as sharp as a tack. I love it when he adds a comment on my page to a discussion I’ve started and makes me think about something from a different perspective. Then I’ll run into him at the Cedar Tree, where we occasionally find each other out to breakfast and we have a good ol’ chuckle about something on Facebook.
One reason the Baby Boomer population is growing on Facebook is it has become a fairly easy way of getting back in touch with old friends. My class reunion (you don’t seriously want to know which one, do you?) is this summer back in Willmar, Minnesota. It has been an amazing thing reconnecting with classmates on Facebook this year who I had been out of touch with since graduation. (I can honestly report that not one of us has changed in appearance based on the photos everyone has uploaded on Facebook! LOL.)
I have connected with some fabulous women from my class who have had me howling with laughter while we clear the cobwebs from our brains. What one doesn’t remember, another does. Not only that, we are older and more mature (I think) and our perspectives are an absolute riot on things that happened so long ago. Stephanie, Randee, Candy, Lana, Mos’, Susan, Carol, Candy et al – I have so enjoyed our chats.
Through these classmates I was able to reconnect with a fellow named Steve who didn’t register at all with me initially. I knew we’d graduated together but my class was 344 students and I didn’t know everyone really well so I just put it down to that. He jumped into a conversation some of us were having and then said, “Lehm, you haven’t lost your dry sense of humor!” I thought, “Who IS this guy?” He knew my nickname. He revealed to me in that comment that my dry sense of humor was present even in high school. It’s hard for me to really remember how I was – and how I remember myself is likely a far cry from how others remember me. I studied his picture and thought hard for 5 minutes. THEN, he came into full view. He was sitting behind me (big as life) in band playing his trumpet. All of a sudden I could hear him saying something quite clever under his breath to Vic, our band director. Steve was quite dry witted himself. Vic was, too. Heck, all of Willmar was probably dry witted! That’s just the way it was. I remembered one of Vic’s comments that has stuck with me to this day and is so true about life, “Well, if you play all the notes, you’re bound to hit the right one eventually!” In that one moment alone Facebook showed me tremendous value by flooding my brain with great memories that had been deeply buried during adulthood while raising a family and working for decades, thousands of miles away from Willmar.
Most Baby Boomers have been working their little behinds off for years and years both professionally and raising families. Many are now entering the grandparent phase. (Not here – our boys are off adventuring the world!!) I view Facebook, more than any other site I’m familiar with, as a link to my past, present and future.
Knowing I was going to eventually be writing this for A News Café dot com, I asked a question on LinkedIn about Facebook to get feedback from others about their perspective on Facebook. I hope all of you can click through to the Sunday Question for 25 April 10 on LinkedIn to see what those suggestions are. If you can’t see it, then just sign up for LinkedIn! It’ll be worth it.
In one of the links I’ve provided, it may tell you how to get a username. As when you set up your profile, it will give you a hard-to-remember ID number, which provides an impossible URL. You can go to www.facebook.com/username and get your personalized URL set up. My personal page is www.facebook.com/relomary and my business page is www.facebook.com/movinglinks4you.com Another business page I’d love you to check out is: www.facebook.com/sundialfilmfestival, which is Redding’s film festival and I hope you’ll help spread the word! The username ID makes it so much easier to find people and business pages.
I look forward to helping the non-profit entities locally and also any of you who might have questions or be skeptical in getting started. I can also help you get started on setting up a Facebook business page. I’m learning new things all the time. It’s good to have a mentor along the way. I’ve got so many great friends made who I can rely on to help me get answers so consider me a resource in that way.
When you join, you will immediately have friends wanting to connect – some you know and some you don’t. Go slowly but have fun. It’s o.k. if you only have 3 connections. It’s o.k., too, to have hundreds.
You’re invited – no, you’re ENCOURAGED – to leave a response here about your Facebook experience or questions you have. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 530.515.6299.
Mary Lascelles (aka ReloMary) is with Moving Links 4 You Concierge Relocation Services – Assembling your Selling, Buying, Moving Team. You may reach her by calling 530.515.6299.