A Whole New World – Social Media In Your Forties – Learning From The Kids

It was with some trepidation that I launched myself into social media a few years ago.

I don’t count the years before 2014 on Facebook and Twitter, as they were decidedly half-hearted, as was my foray into Myspace before that.

Now, in my third year, I absolutely love it.

As a singer/songwriter my primary goal has always been, and still is, to reach as many people with my music – to connect, communicate and share my creativity.

I suppose being in my forties means I had a set idea of how to engage with people – traditional steps like compiling emails gathered from flyers at gigs, to generate mailing lists, and then writing newsletters to send out.

But social media has turned my “old” way of thinking on its head. It allows me to share my songs, creative thought processes and related passions and interests in a way that was unimaginable when I was growing up and working early on in my career.

It offers immediate global engagement.

At the beginning of 2015, I started my blog as a way of showing people who love my music who I am and what makes me that way.

It paints a fuller picture; and I feel that if you are honest and authentic, whatever your authenticity is – hopefully there will be someone, somewhere who will be drawn in and find it appealing.

Of course you can’t please everyone, and some people may not like what I do. But that is true of “real” life too, not just social media.

A major realization for me is that predominately all my references – the people I am learning from are 15-20 years younger than me. Creatives like Lilly Singh are leading the way.

Everything I understood about the processes of learning has been sort of reversed. Of course I need to plan and structure and I know how to do that. Some skills stand the test of time. And these younger generations map things out meticulously – they all have a really clear game plan and are so savvy with it.

But I have learned that to reach more people organically I have to be consistent and persistent, and importantly I cannot waste time procrastinating and over-thinking – an affliction that I feel is particularly prevalent in my age group, because we have to get our heads around the immediacy of sharing ourselves – our personalities, passions and creativity.

Above all, I have at the forefront of my mind that anything I post has to be totally true to me.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a weighty post about my new music or parenting or something more frivolous like my new shoe lust – if something feels unnatural or contrived it just doesn’t go up.

Before I started my YouTube channel (which was a real challenge for me as it took engaging with people to a whole different level) I did some research and it wasn’t hard to find gutsy, vibrant (young) people sharing their lives, personalities and passions in an immediate, effortless way.

This was a hurdle for me, so to make it work I drew on my past experiences in my working environments.

I have always loved meeting people and connecting face to face whether at a gig, in the studio or at a meeting – so all I had to do was tweak my mindset a little. By putting my vlogs up on the Internet – I am using a portal that enables me to do just that.

Luckily for me, so far my social media experiences have been positive. As a singer/songwriter and now blogger – I probably need to have a thicker skin than I do… in case someone is vocal in their dislike…but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Some friends my age are quite damming of social media and say that it is contrived because people create these “ideals” and no one’s life is perfect. That’s true. But for me, if I am having a bad day I will always look for the positive. So if I find something uplifting I’ll share that. That is genuinely what I do. And as it’s not like me to be negative so why would I represent myself that way?

If I need to express some sort of sadness or negative emotion I write a song. That is a much more logical route for me.

I still have a lot to learn in the world of social media, but that’s exciting, and the journey is exhilarating.

In everything I do, I would find it dull if I knew everything there was to know…so though starting to build my social media presence in my 40s could be seen as a little late, I do believe age is only a barrier if you allow it to be.

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