Technology can seem like a bit of a mind numbing epidemic sweeping the youth. It’s not hard to see how dependant people have become with the Internet and digital devices. All you have to do is look around at a crowded restaurant and count how many people are texting with their phones despite being surrounded by present company. People are increasingly living in both realities, virtual and physical and looking on from the outside, it can seem isolating and confusing. Facebook, blogs, eBay, Google... and what the heck is Twitter all about? Not only that, even when you go online, it’s like a foreign language filled with 3 character words and limited vowels: LOL, BTW, OMG?
But it is just that- the online world is a new world. Not only for information, social media, email or egotistical bloggers but it also can be an alternate platform of your physical life that you customize for yourself. More and more seniors have been breaking down the barriers of just seeing the internet as a tool to find local restaurants and have started to explore the possibilities of what it has to offer. Social media has been a clear indicator of this as, according to a study done by MyVoucherCodes, 71% of 1,341 seniors surveyed have active profiles on Facebook, 34% were sharing their thoughts on Twitter and 9% were using business social network site LinkedIn to establish a professional presence.
This is astonishing considering, when asked, 68% said that they had signed up within the past year. As faceless as technology can seem, it also has the ability to give you an independent voice, directly impact your environment, join specialized communities and integrate yourself into the expanding global village.
Here are some interactive ways to take advantage of being online:
- Start a Blog – It might seem a little self absorbed but a blog is a great way to document your opinions, feelings and passions without the fear of being reprimanded. Anonymous or bravely as yourself, sharing your experiences online can be great for your soul as well as connect you to other like minded individuals. You might feel a bit exposed and vunerable at the start but you might be surprised at how liberating it can be.
- Join the Discussion – When I first discovered discussion boards, I was skeptical. It seemed like a waste of time and also a place where people just wanted to feel smart and give advice, despite knowing what they were talking about in the first place. Then I discovered that there actually ARE great discussion boards out there and within those boards are close communities of people that grow to care about each other, despite never meeting in the physical sense. Most websites also have comment sections on their articles, giving you the ability to respond and have insight on the media that is presented to you. By giving this feedback, you are not only speaking your mind but giving the publication an idea of who is reading their articles, allowing them to be able to bring you more relevant content in the future. Discussion boards additionally have the ability to allow you to let down otherwise guarded limitations and speak your mind, be yourself. And besides that, where else could you find 1,000 other people that have the same strange fascination with old German novelists.
- Social Media – Everyone knows to some degree what the major player social media sites are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube. Whether or not you are actively involved in any of them, understanding the power and social importance of these sites, not only online but offline, is very important to staying in touch with the drastically changing global world. Businesses, publications, organizations, political parties, friends, family – in some part, everything is hooked into these platforms. I’m not advising for someone to be that person at the restaurant tweeting about what type of sandwich they’re eating, but exploring and familiarizing yourself to these medias can prove to be rewarding. Social media allows you to customize your online interface so that you are surrounded by your interests. By liking things on Facebook, following brands and personalities on Twitter and joining groups on LinkedIn, you are connecting yourself to communities of organizations, interests and relevant information that you otherwise would be ignorant to therefore decluttering your internet experience.
So what does this mean? It means that there are no excuses not to take the plunge and explore everything that the internet has to offer. Take a hike up Mount Douglas and blog about it. Connect with friends from 20 years ago and gossip on Facebook on whose gotten fat. Feeling silenced? Go online and debate your stance on whether or not Elvis is dead. Before you write off the online world as a mind numbing brain melt, take the time to understand the possibilities and smell the virtual roses. TTYL.
This article has been viewed 4636 times.