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A Booming Boomer in Social Media!

A Booming Boomer in Social Media!

Baby Boomers are the fastest growing user demographic on the internet and are actively going online and using the internet like never before.  Whether it’s keeping in touch with family and friends, purchasing products or even visiting online dating sites, baby boomers are online and they are engaged.

Dan Garvin, 57, is an example of a boomer who is not only using the internet but is also an active social media user.  Actually, we should probably change that statement – with over 8,000 Facebook Friends and 1,500 LinkedIn Connections, Dan is not just actively engaged – he’s a social media giant!

Dan works as both a Paramedic, serving as commander of the EMS Honour Guard in Montreal, Quebec as well as a first aid-CPR instructor and is also actively involved in public speaking.  He first started using the internet about ten years ago as he was searching for information about one of his hobbies – collecting shoulder patches from different emergency service organizations from around the world.

When Dan first went online, he was amazed at how he could contact and connect with people and networks from around the world all through his computer.  He was fascinated by how one single shared interest was able to pull people from all parts of the globe together.

Dan Garvin

Dan Garvin

Even though Dan started online looking for shoulder patches he soon discovered through his growing network that there was much more to gain and began to move from strictly shoulder patches to expanding into sharing information and learning from others about their roles and responsibilities and how they applied protocols in their daily routine on the job.

From that point on, the whole online world started to open up to Dan.  He started to connect with people through Facebook from all over the world.  When Dan reached 5,000 Facebook Friends he even had to open a second account page just so he could continue to grow his network.  Now he was exchanging information and getting ideas on everything – from where to buy the best music, to connecting with long lost friends – Dan found he could do this and more through Facebook.

Dan & His Wife Donna

Dan & His Wife Donna

Interested in further developing his professional network, Dan started to venture into the LinkedIn environment.  On LinkedIn, Dan discovered that he was able to easily connect with his professional colleagues.  He has now connected with over 1,500 people from around the world with similar professional interests. Besides emergency medicine, Dan writes music and has expanded his writing skills and interests also through LinkedIn which has enabled him to share his music with others around the globe.

What Dan likes most about the social networking functionality is that it is there when he is available.  As Dan often worked shifts, his work schedule was not a 9 to 5 job and by using social media Dan was able to connect with people when it was convenient for him and was always able to stay in touch with what was happening.

Dan spends about 4 hours a day online.  He is the first to admit that there are probably other things that he could do with this time but he enjoys learning new things and staying in touch with people and this is the way that he does this.  Dan also pointed out that he doesn’t watch very much television.

Dan Teaching CPR

Dan Teaching CPR

When asked what he doesn’t like about social media, Dan stated he is starting to become a little disillusioned with Facebook.  He is finding that the advertising has become very excessive and believes that some of the advertising is not appropriate and he doesn’t have the ability to control what is presented to him.  Dan is very pleased with LinkedIn and likes the overall professional atmosphere of this social network.

When Dan was asked what he would recommend to other boomers that might be looking to venture into using social media,  he first suggested that they take the time to understand the privacy controls and settings of any social media site and be sure that they are comfortable with how information is used and shared.  He also suggests that people be honest in what they post and to be careful about what they say.  He recommended that people not post anything on a public forum that they would feel uncomfortable saying to someone face to face.  Dan also wanted to remind people that when using social media they are operating in a very public place and once something is put online – it is “out there” forever.  He also suggests that if someone is new to social media, that they start off slow and just observe some of the interactions so that they have a good idea of how the site operates.

Dan is also very quick to point out all the benefits of using social media as well.  He says you can find people who have similar interests, connect with people you haven’t seen in years and rekindle friendships and it’s also a great way to stay in touch with what your friends, family and colleagues are doing.  Overall, Dan has found that using social media has helped him to stay in touch, stay informed and stay current on all the things that interest him and he plans on continuing to stay active for years to come.

So what about you?  Are you using any social media sites? If yes, what has been your experience?  We would love to hear your story….

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