Hashtag … What Now?

Should I go with the duck lips?
Should I go with the duck lips?

In a week I’ll be conducting a social media workshop for a group of service club leaders. I wouldn’t be nearly as prepared but for a recent schooling I received on the subject from someone half my age.

The impromptu education session wouldn’t have phased me, except for that thing I have with being competitive about stupid stuff. Which is how this is also a story about how my better judgment got a workout, wrestling with the desire to wring a certain college student by the neck.

A brawl would have disrupted our meeting. And you know I’m all about decorum.

The young woman in question doubtlessly thought she was being helpful. She’d been invited by a well-meaning member of our group to introduce our gaggle of middle-aged(ish) ladies to the social media tools she believed were critical to any relevance we hoped to have, whatsoever.

“I went out and did a search for you guys on Twitter,” she said. “People are talking about the stuff you do, but you don’t even have an account.”

Immediately the room was abuzz. Oh MY GOD, we weren’t on TWITTER? Such a brazen thumbing of our noses at the social media gods this was, our refusal to broadcast our good works into the stratosphere every twenty seconds in 140 characters.

Honestly, someone should have called for a vote right there on whether there was any point of going on living if we weren’t going to be on Twitter.

We asked our young guru what we should do. She surveyed our anxious, lined and be-speckled faces and uttered the one word of our salvation.

“Instagram.”

… Oh good. Instagram. The perfect tool for a group of ladies whose grandchildren have to help them change the ring tones on their smart phones.

It was clear our tenacious tutor didn’t get us. We’re still collectively trying to wrap our arms around Facebook, for which I regularly field questions from this crowd. Am I even on our page? How do I do that thing with the photo? What do you mean I SHOULDN’T USE ALL CAPS? Why does my profile photo show only my forehead? Did you see that cat? Whose cat was that?

A group of sharp ladies, all of them. Enthusiastic and big-hearted too. But still, not a group that’s going to generate much of a buzz on a mobile photo app.

But I played along, reluctant to dump all over our earnest coach’s social media parade. How, I asked, could a group like ours – not being known for our duck lipped selfies – build much of a presence on Instagram?

Maybe, I suggested, we could encourage our members to sign on, upload photos and tag our organization? At least carving out a little niche in the social mediasphere.

To what end, I still wasn’t sure, but I was trying to be helpful.

“Oh, do you mean hashtag?” She asked, batting her eyes with exaggerated sweetness, and launching a lecture on the purpose of and the difference between “tags” and “hastags.”

At that exact moment I was exercising my ability to restrain from launching myself across the table to wring her neck.

Oh the unmitigated impudence. School me on social media, honey? I was around back when we had to put those labels on the function keys on the keyboards. I started carting around a cell phone back when they were as big as damn shoeboxes. I was practically in college when Mark Zuckerberg was born.

Oh for Pete’s sake, what was the point I was trying to make here? I mean, besides the fact that I am so freaking old?

This all makes it ironic that I am presenting a little workshop on social media in about a week or so. I’m clearly no expert, as prone to messing up the terminology as I am.

And there’ll be about a four-decade span in age range in my audience, representing every level of social media savvy from Luddite to expert, and not much time to cover a heck of a lot of ground.

But at least I’ll give a thought or two about my audience and what they want to accomplish before launching into a lecture about the perfect social media outlet. I do, after all, want to leave the room without anyone wanting to lash out at me in frustration.

And possibly also unwittingly becoming the subject of some snarky person’s upcoming blog.

Because, you know …

…HASH-freaking-TAG…

Duh.

***

You don’t have to be a social media expert for me to appreciate your vote. Thank you.

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  1. Precisely what I needed today, except that you didn\’t set up an Instagram account for me. Please? MM

  2. I love this! I, too, have been told by a young \”expert\” that Instagram is the place to be. Really? My most recent picture there is of a dear friend of mine poking at her phone. The caption is \”Old ladies trying to figure out Instagram\”. Ha! Not my deal.

    Love your blog, Beth!

  3. I can do Facebook. I don\’t Twitter well. I mostly Instagram my dog, which I think makes me a bad mother. But I can still teach my dad how to use his iPhone.

    It\’s all about perspective. You can do this.

  4. LOL! I feel so \”social media challenged\” too. I love Facebook, but feel like such a newb on Twitter and Instagram. I feel so old because my kids are teaching me how to do things! Crazy. We have parental controls on everything, but I have a feeling those are more to make the parents feel better, but the kids could probably figure out how to get around them. Ha ha.

  5. Who can keep up?
    My daughter and her friends are all about Snapchat. Pictures that disappear? Huh? I guess I\’m too old to get it.
    My brother-in-law keeps me in stitches because he now speaks in hashtags after working all day with young people. #pass the potatoes and #pick up the kids. He kills me.
    Pinterest is my favorite, but I must say, Beth, you have mastered Twitter. Your 140-character tweets are amusing and lively.

    1. Deborah, that\’s so funny, my 16-year-old daughter talks in hashtag sentences like that to me, as a joke. She has a dry sense of humor that cracks me up!
      Beth, love this post! I really need to get with it and check out Twitter. I think I feel kind of intimidated to delve into that world.

    2. Snapchat terrifies me. The trouble people could get into sending a picture that they think will disappear, only to have someone do a screen capture. I always tell my son \”nothing disappears completely.\” My friends communicate with their son, who is in college, almost completely via snapchat. I had to get a tutorial from my son.

      I\’m beginning to love Pinterest, but I ADORE twitter. There\’s always gold on Twitter. I don\’t think I\’m a master, but I\’m glad you like my tweets, Deborah. I\’m usually in the process of cracking myself up when I post them…