Posted by: Admin | July 15, 2010

Are You CONNECTED?

I was telling a 50-something the other day that I’d had to check on Facebook to see that my youngest was still alive as he hadn’t phoned for a while and his phone was constantly unavailable.  My colleague pulled a face as though I’d asked him to eat marmite and scoffed, “I don’t bother with all that modern rubbish – that’s for young people, isn’t it?”

Now, there are many, many things awry with that response, but I’m going to home in on just the one. There is nothing inherently evil about the internet and the social networks it has spawned. Sure, you can waste your time on any number of things on Facebook but, as an adult, that’s your choice. Alternatively, you can plug yourself in to a whole new world of social contact.

I know it’s no substitute for face to face contact with real people and that it’s good to chat on the phone, yada yada yada. The point is, these new methods of communication can be used to enhance those that already exist, not replace them.

Take Facebook. I use it to keep in touch with my children (and yes, I do “Facebook-stalk” them occasionally, but only lightly – see above) and as an easy way to keep in contact with friends from University who live all over the world. It’s a way of sharing photographs, jokes and thoughts and announcing events. It is invaluable to me as a source of encouragement, support and advice between fellow photographers. We share ideas freely, offering each other inspiration and companionship as we build our businesses in different parts of the country. My personal Facebook page settings are set to “private”, which means that I can control who has access to my musings.

On my public-access Facebook business page, I am able to showcase my work, offer my customers special deals and generally provide a shop window that is less static than my website. In my field, building relationships is an integral part of the business, easily facilitated in the informal environment of Facebook.

If you run your own business and haven’t considered social networking for your marketing yet, you really should.  Take a look at the short video below if you need convincing.

Food for thought, isn’t it?  Last month, Experian Hitwise reported that visits to Social Network sites in the UK have outstripped those for search engines. In the US, Facebook has already overtaken Google as the most popular site. For business, the message here seems to be keep up or give up!

For the over fifties, there’s a whole new world of connection to explore if we just open our minds to these new methods of access. If you watched the video, you’ll have seen that the fastest growing Facebook user group is 55-65 year old women. Dive in – the water is lovely and you will be far from alone!

Tomorrow’s article, on fitness, has been written by my first guest contributor, Becca Mclachlan. This week’s Saturday Interview continues the theme and should be of interest to sports fans and anyone with an interest in maintaining fitness.  See you then!

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