Last week I attended the AARP Orlando@50+ Conference. Snide remarks from friends on Facebook aside, I was not in Orlando as an attendee to plan my post-retirement life, although had I been, there was plenty of information on the show floor and in the sessions to help me. I’m still a couple years shy of the calendar milestone, and as for retirement, that’s at least 20 years off.
I was at the conference to present two workshops on Connecting and Communicating with Social Media as part of Kaplan University’s educational track within the conference. The room was full both times – about 280 capacity – even though the room was as far from the front door as you could possibly get and on Saturday it was one of the last sessions, competing with all the entertainment Orlando offers.
It’s impossible to introduce folks to “everything” social media has to offer in an hour session, so I focus largely on blogs and Facebook. Even then, people – especially in beginner audiences – tend to have very specific “how do I do this…” questions, and there is no way to get to all of them. That’s why I am particularly glad that as part of its deliverables for the AARP attendees, Kaplan has created reinventyourself.kaplan.edu, a site dedicated to expanding on the topics presented at the conference with self-paced in-depth courses on each topic. The site launches October 7. I’ll add a link here once it is live.
I helped develop a course based on my workshop, and got a sneak peek Saturday. The online course developers did a great job translating my concepts to the online interactive format. It is a great start for anyone dipping their toe into social media for the first time, at any age. It’s also free!
Of course, if you want to delve more deeply into blogging, and especially making money on your blog, my book Professional Blogging For Dummies is also a good choice! Links in the sidebar to your online bookseller of choice.
The workshops I am doing for the Conferences for Women in Pittsburgh, Houston and Boston use a similar outline, with a slight shift on focus to women and how these tools can help them personally and professionally. I’m giving away tickets to Houston and Boston; all you have to do is leave a comment on my post Using Social Media to Build Your Brand for a chance to win.
For more on technology use by older Americans, check out this post on the AARP blog ShAARP. I was honored that they included the story about my mom that I use in my workshops to make two important points about technology and the Internet. First, there is no age requirement or limit. Second, don’t think – or let anyone tell you, that you can’t do something. We learn how to do the things that let us accomplish our goals. Even if it seems – or even is – hard.