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How To Sound Cool While Figuring Out Social Media

How to Sound Cool while Figuring out Social Media

By Deanna Shoss

If you’re 30 and you say you are not that into social media people would probably think you were cool and hip or even an artist. But if you’re over 50 and you say you’re not into social media, people may likely assume that’s a euphemism for an age-related lack of understanding of how it works. And even when you do indulge, as soon as you understand one platform, like Facebook or YouTube, everyone moves to Instagram and TikTok or whatever is coming next.

Form Follows Function

The truth is that the need (not fun, desire, but actual, functional NEED) for social media is not necessarily for everyone. Take my husband…please! (Raise your hand if you get that reference). When he worked inside of a big corporation, he would tell me he didn’t have time for that stuff and that social media for business was a complete waste of time. And in my husband’s case, for his specific work in global commodities, he was right. Now that he is an entrepreneur, however, LinkedIn is a perfect platform for reconnecting with former colleagues and building a network for referrals.

Social media or no social media, my husband was right in both situations. Real-life needs and strategy should be the driver. Social media platforms are simply the tools or vehicles to get there.

Not all “need” for social media is metric driven

Defining “need” is a valid gauge when pondering social media use. Of course, you can easily survive without Facebook (You can. Really.) But me telling my husband what his sisters and cousins were up to started to annoy him. “How do you know that before ME?” he would ask. “Facebook,” I would reply with a hand on my hip and sass in my voice. In this case, “real-life need” was not about driving business goals, but a desire to stay connected with family members. Particularly when family members are spread across the country or around the globe, checking in on loved ones’ updates makes you feel more connected.

So after years of resistance, he created a Facebook profile. Now when I say “Did you see that Ana had her baby?” he responds, “Yes, and I already sent her congratulations!” He’s also reconnected with friends from his university days and got invited to join a private Facebook group with colleagues from a former workplace.

How to Sound Cool while Figuring out Social Media

For those feeling like ‘I’m not on social media (or not yet at a level of comfort to drive business or personal objectives) ‘but I know I need to go in that direction,’ here are some ways to phrase it to others so that you still sound in the know, while figuring things out. Even if you are in the “I’ve lived this long without it” camp, these tips can help you sound relevant when interacting with younger colleagues or family members.) 

Instead of “aggghhh…I don’t get it,” try “I’m a digital immigrant amid acculturation.”

If there can be “non-digital natives,” aka people who did not grow up with technology, there can be digital immigrants. Which is kind of what it feels like, learning new technology—visiting a foreign land, complete with its own language.

Instead of “I have a Linked In account but I never look at it,” try “I’m taking a multi-channel approach.

Oh, you smart person you! You KNOW about all the options available to you, you just want to be discerning about where you focus your attention. Add “I’m still reviewing my mix,” to let people know you are a big picture, strategic thinker!

Instead of “isn’t that teenagers telling you what they had for lunch?” try, (Instagram, etc.) is a viable platform but it doesn’t align with my goals in real life.

Perhaps be ready with a goal or two as evidence in case you are asked. Or show respect. “I would join Snapchat, but I don’t want to infringe on this important space where you can hang out with your friends.” And, besides, telling someone about your lunch is a Twitter reference from 2006. Please don’t.

Finally, if your 14-year-old grandchild asks when you are going to finally get on social media, just say… IYKYK. Goals.

And then nod your head in commiseration.

You are now prepared to fake it until you make it. Amirite?



SOCIAL MEDIADeanna Shoss (she/her) is a marketer, writer and interculturalist in Chicago. As CEO of Intercultural Talk, Inc., she provides digital, intercultural, and real-life marketing for non-digital natives. She helps people who seek strategy and tactics to build their business or realize a purpose-driven project with websites, blogging, e-newsletters, social media and promotions in real life. Deanna’s first book, co-written with Jerry Witkovsky, Where Two Worlds Meet: A Guide to Connecting with Your Teenage Grandchildren, is coming in June 2022. Pre-order today!


Read more from Deanna here


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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