Thanks Johnny Diaz from The Sun Sentinel for interviewing me and quoting me in your article!
South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Are you a digital dinosaur?
Keeping current with social media is enough to make us feel old
By Johnny Diaz, Staff writer
8:14 PM EDT, July 14, 2012
You think you've mastered social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. But then other online networking platforms — Pinterest? Instagram? — pop up.
If you're constantly feeling out of the loop, you're not alone.
"I hear it a million times a day," says Sharon Geltner, a Boca Raton business analyst who has presented workshops called "You Are Not A Dinosaur" to teach people in Broward and Palm Beach counties how to use and manage social media sites.
"People feel overwhelmed. They see social media as like the devil that you don't know and the devil that you do. There is always something new coming down the pike."
Call it the digital dinosaur syndrome, which may explain why any change — no matter how small — to sites such as Facebook rattle us so much. And it's not limited to the older crowd: It's a situation more South Floridians of all ages are finding themselves in.
Social media consumption continues to rise as people adopt more sites and platforms to connect with friends, co-workers and family, or to generate their own content. In 2011, 65 percent of all U.S. adults online used some type of social media, up from 29 percent in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C.
At age 29, Diana Pierre-Louis sometimes feels like she's running a digital marathon to stay current with social media trends, even though it's her job as a digital media specialist at Palm Beach State College in Boca Raton.
Five years ago, her only social media outlet was MySpace.com. But these days, her work email signature reflects how times have changed: It includes links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and photo-sharing site Flickr.
"I enjoy it, but it's hard to keep up," says Pierre-Louis, of Boca Raton. On her down time, she spends about 25 hours a week using the photo site Picasa and professional networking site LinkedIn, and updates her two personal blogs including therealhaiti.com.
"Sometimes I spend my whole weekend doing it. I do feel crazy at times because there is so much going on,'' says Pierre-Louis, who has been exploring Pinterest but hasn't posted any images. "It's tempting to look at everything and join because you think it will be the next best thing."
While innovations in social media are aimed at making our lives easier, it doesn't always seem that way.
Melinda Rosenthal, a Boca Raton blogger of minivanmadness.com, was frustrated after Facebook added new features to her profile recently such as a timeline design, which reconfigured how her page looked and worked.
"If the game changes, I know nothing all over again," the mother of two says. "I feel like I should be schooled."
What to do
So next time you hear of yet another online platform that all your friends, family or co-workers are using, take a step back.
Geltner says she caved the other day and finally joined Pinterest, a growing photography social networking site that allows users to share images they like and pin them up on virtual bulletin board.
"I opened a Pinterest account and haven't done a darn thing with it,'' Geltner says. "It takes time. I am catching my breath."
Sherry Turkle, author of "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less From Each Other," recalled recently asking her daughter to show her Instagram, a mobile phone application.
"What it does is quite simply take beautiful, crisp digital photos and make them look like something my mother might have taken of me on her Brownie camera," says the Massachusetts Institute of Technology psychologist, in an email. "When one's life is turned into a retro diversion, one feels old. Sometimes it's as simple as that."
"Now we feel old when we don't know the name of the latest apps. Or we know their names but it seems too exhausting to think we might have to learn how to use them,'' she adds. "And there comes a moment when an innovation is simply designed to make the not-really-ancient feel old."
If that's how you feel, Geltner has a social media serenity prayer, which she has shared with her students at workshops.
"You are not going to be able to do it all, but try to do what you can and have the wisdom to know the difference. You can only do so much," she said, before returning to Facebook.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4939
How to (social media) multitask
Limit yourself to four of five of the bigger platforms. More than that can overwhelm you.
Schedule an allotted time in your day for social media and try to stick to that time, whether it's 30 minutes or an hour or two.
To save time, sites such as Ping.fm and Twitterfeed.com allow users to update and share content simultaneously across various platforms.
When you start seeing posts related to platforms that you have not heard of, ask yourself, does that sound like something that makes sense for me?
Sources: Online research as well as Sharon Geltner, a business analyst, and Jeff Cohen, director of social media at MDG Advertising in Boca Raton
Geltner, the business analyst, suggested sticking with just four sites. Perhaps pick the bigger platforms that you know you're going to use. She also suggests scheduling an allotted time in your day for social media and try to stick to that time, whether it's 30 minutes or an hour or two.
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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