I’ve always enjoyed looking at myself and my fairly typical family as barometers for social media and tech toys–or not, as the case usually is. While many of my relatives own a Wii none have accounts on flickr, twitter, or friendfeed. Most are just starting to discover linkedin.
As bright and well educated as they are, the fam make a great test market for stuff..and a reality check on stuff they have no interest in (even as all my friends in the digital world go nuts).
So the trip to Southern California to see my son who is in school there, and his girlfriend, was not only wonderful in bringing us together after I’d been away far too long–it gave me a fresh view of how my particular twenty-something is using–and not using–tech and social media.
I’d promised a long over due new computer (bought the last one with his dad when Z was in high school and it was top of the line), suggested a Mac, and asked him to check out what was available. Once I got there, and we headed over to the store, I was surprise to see that Z, unlike most of the techies I know, didn’t want the laptop, he wanted a desktop model.
Reasons? He had a computer at work, wanted a “home computer” for the study, and especially needed the larger monitor (which was over our budget on a laptop). We costed all the options out and came home with–yep–a really sleek looking iMac.
Discussing his computing needs also exposed how little he’s had to do with social media to date. Resolutely antii-MySpace and Facebook (his GF has both), Z has one of the smallest digital footprints I’ve seen; while that’s fine from a privacy point of view, it’s not going to be so good as prospective resources answer questions about career experiences and possible internships; if they search for him, they wlll close to nada, not a competitive situation for someone in their early 20s.
After some discussion, we agreed that good (and easy) ways to post more about himself would be via a tumblr blog and, eventually, flickr. ” I have just completely avoided social media,” he said to me. “I know you’re really into it, but I just haven’t seen the use for it.”
“How about ChowHound? You use that,” I replied, and then he agreed, it might just be a question of knowing what the tools are and when he might want to use them (with never being a realistic option for a few.)
I’ll be working with Z and his GF to show them more options they can use as the decide to share more of themselves in the digital world; with their permission, more posts to follow.