Are we still relevant at nearly 50 years old?!
It's very easy in this digital age, which was not part of my generation's schooling, to think that we are too old to keep up. We have spent recent years hearing new words, then trying to understand what they Actually mean, let alone how they are relevant to our lives.
There are jobs that were not even a contender in the top ten on the career list when we were at school. Whoever thought that being an 'Influencer' would be a job, let alone something you would get paid for doing !! In fact, the word wasn't added to the dictionary with its current meaning until May 2019.
What is an Influencer ?
What do they do? Quite simply, an influencer is someone who can influence others. A social media influencer is someone who wields that influence through social media. The form of influence can vary and no two influencers are the same. The right influencer can reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement.
Generally speaking the people who hold down these jobs are young, on trend, and soooo skilled in social media. Us over 40's might feel we are getting left behind or that no-one wants to hear what we have to say.
Am I too old ?
This year I will be the big 5.... 0. Luckily this is not until almost the last day in December so I still have time to get used to the fact. I cannot lie, I am struggling with the whole idea of being That old. When I was 18, 50 seemed sooooo far away. Now I am having to contend with the idea of ticking the next age bracket when it comes to forms !!
Funnily enough I was chatting to one of my school friends earlier today and we were joking about getting back on the dance floor once her knees are mended. Not only does that seem like a very 'old persons' conversation. We also agreed we would have to go out early so we could get back to bed by 10pm!! At 18 we would only just be going out then.
We also discussed our social media skills, or lack of them. We grew up in the age when computers were just starting to be used. Mobile phones were as heavy as bricks, and with only Saturday job wages to rely on we would never be able to afford to actually buy one.
Now mobile phones, laptops, iPads and many other devices are a part of our culture that anyone under the age of about 30 cannot even imagine living without. We learnt from encyclopedias at the library. Assignments at school often meant hours spent trawling the shelves for a book that might contain the information we required.
We wrote things out by hand. There was no auto-correct, or a pen which was able to interpret our words correctly from our attempts to spell. Photos were stored in albums, not on our phone. Messages were passed on paper under desks from one side of the classroom to the other !!
Now we have knowledge at our fingertips. We can literally find out anything at the touch of a screen. In-depth knowledge that we could never have hoped to gain from books alone.
We are still Relevant
However, we must not discount our worth. We have almost 50 years of living to back us up. Years of gaining experience in life itself, when the world was a very different place. What some of us might lack in digital knowledge, we more than make up for in Life Skills. And, as I am finding out, we can learn the digital stuff !
I have spent lockdown 3.0 learning how to organise my Instagram grid, what a social media plan looks like and why its important to have one. I've been creating marketing campaigns and adding stories, I've been sharing my life on platforms I hadn't tried before, using apps I didn't even know existed !!
I've been zooming and teaming, tweeting and 'live..ing'. Things move on so quickly these days that even I turned my nose up when someone mentioned Skype !! Does anyone even use that anymore ??
'Inventorise' your Skills
I began to take a look at my life. What skills do I have. What knowledge have I gained. I have worked for large multi-national companies and small independent firms. I have been self-employed and started two businesses from scratch, bought two existing ones and changed the business model on two occasions to meet the needs of a changing world.
I have worked with corporate individuals, young people with learning disabilities, older people living with dementia. I've been a single parent whilst still running two businesses. And now, I have the experience of living through a pandemic. This cannot be negated simply because I don't look the part, or have all the skills to shout about it to the world.
Is it the time for 'my generation' to rise in this post lockdown world. Can we 'Influence' our way out of this, with a broader knowledge of life and how to live it. How many of us have that entrepreneurial spirit within us. desperate to break free.
I have ideas that run through my head daily, hourly. They keep me awake at night until I write them down so as I can actually get to sleep. Dreams that I still want to pursue. I will not be written off by the world just because I am getting older.
Does anyone else feel this way ? Do not feel that what you have learnt during your life is not important. Let's show this new world that we are valuable. Not yet antiques. Not quite the mighty Oak, but certainly not the sapling of our youth. Time to show what we are worth.