Why You Can’t Afford to Not Learn Social Media

Photo: Erin Ericksonby Erin Erickson, Chicago Chapter Vice President;
Creator of Me Media: Social Media for Non-Techies

This post is adapted from Me Media: Social Media for Non-Techies

Why you can’t afford to not learn social media

File this one under “No Brainer,” but the Society for New Communications Research Symposium recently revealed that millenial journalists are leading the way when it comes to new media usage.

None of what they reported comes as a giant shock to me. Call me biased, but I’m a fervent social media user and I’m in my early 30s (technically on the cusp of being a millenial).

According to the findings, of which a full report will be available in Spring 2009:

  • 87% of 18-29 year-olds believe bloggers have become important opinion-shapers, versus 60% of 50-64 year-olds
  • 87% of 18-29 year-olds confirm that new media and communications enhances the relationship with their audience, versus 42% of 50- to 64-year-olds
  • 48% of all respondents use LinkedIn, and 45% use Facebook, to assist in reporting
  • 68% of all respondents use blogs to keep up on issues or topics of interest
  • 86% of all respondents use company websites, 71% use Wikipedia, and 46% use blogs to research an individual organization

What this data tells me is that those people unwilling to learn social media are going to be out of a job in the near future.

With the current state of the economy, companies are trading in their 20-year I-know-how-to-use-a-computer veterans for two I-have-been-out-college-10-months-but-ran-a-social-media-community-out-of-my-dorm-room “kids.”

To put it mildly: these social media-minded millenials are going to start to replace you unless you do something about it.

The Time-Space Continuum

“I don’t have the time,” “I don’t know how,” and “My company won’t let us do anything with it” are the excuses I hear the most often when I ask people why they haven’t started to learn social media.

Then learn it for yourself. In this economy, there is a likelihood that you could be out of a job. Many of the companies that are hiring are looking for candidates with social media experience.

The next time you receive a request to join Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, don’t roll your eyes and delete. Accept the invitation, set up an account and start training yourself for your next potential job.

Me Media: Social Media for Non-Techies (emediaconsulting.blogspot.com) is a how-to blog geared toward teaching nontechnical people how to create, use and manage social media. The blog is written by Erin Erickson, Chicago Chapter Vice President and former print editor who taught herself HTML and social media to in order to work in online media. She is a Senior Web Editor at Putman Media.

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