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How to Explain Social Media to Your Dad

Monday 15 June 2015

10 minute read

By Sarah Burns

For Father's Day, we wanted to recognise all of the Dads out there with a blog designed to make social media that little less confusing to fathers everywhere.

Most of our Dads don't quite understand how to turn computers on - you're lucky if yours does - but social media is a very confusing arena for them.

If your role involves social media or your Auntie has just uploaded Uncle Jeff's 60th birthday photos to Facebook and you want Dad to understand how that happened, this is the blog for you...

We love our Dads but typical fathers of an older generation have no time for social media, unless their job requires them to have mastered the art of computers. 

Here are a few great tips for Fathers (and their long suffering children everywhere):

Understanding the platforms

Facebook is like bumping into an old face (or lots of them) down the pub!

A platform for sharing the more personal moments of your life - but not too personal (read on) - with the people you have met over the years (a lot of them you're no longer in touch with, but they're still there sharing life's biggest moments with you)!

Use Facebook to tell jokes, upload holiday photos and keep a tab on your closest friends or distant relatives. 



Twitter is the glitzy cocktail party

Most Dads probably will struggle with Facebook and would be quite happy to just use it to reconnect with the people they know.

Those that want to take it the step further and find out what is going on in the Twittersphere should consider it a cocktail party, full of titbits, gossip, opinions and strangers.

Twitter is high energy, fast paced and, obviously, real time. There tends to be some stragglers from the Facebook pub environment, but most are slightly more polite and self aware of what they are posting.

Use it to find out about news, post news if you find yourself at an important event, newsworthy scene and be aware that most people set privacy settings to 'public' so you can share information with one another (so anybody can see what you're saying and sharing).



LinkedIn is the business networking event we're all trying to get in to

You put your suit on to attend LinkedIn and you remain level headed and business focused. 

Unless you have a customer facing, suit-wearing job you're unlikely to find a place for yourself on LinkedIn. If you do have a suit-wearing, customer facing job and are somewhat of an authority figure in your role (MD, Sales Executive etc) then you should probably consider spending some time going through the process of creating a personal LinkedIn account.

There is less of a need about updating statuses and sharing content on LinkedIn (although you're moving to the next rank if you do that), but merely being there. It proves your status as an authoritative figure and if your profile and profile picture is appropriate and complete it will help potential clients and work associates see themselves working with you.



Understanding the terminology

Some of the basics are below, but you could also benefit from our Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest glossary checklists (coming soon).

Facebook: "Like" - Allows people to show appreciation (or agreement) for a comment, page or status.

Facebook: "Share" - If you want other people to know about something you’ve seen on Facebook, there’s often a “share” button so you can spread the message.

Twitter: "Hashtag" - Add certain hashtags to create context to your tweet, join conversations with like-minded individuals and others’ use hashtags as search terms to find things they’re looking for.

Twitter: "Trend" - These are the most popular hashtags or terms on Twitter – usually news topics or to do with major events. 

Twitter: "Favourite" - If you appreciate a tweet you can favourite it – this doesn’t share the content, but shows the tweeter that you thought it was worthwhile.


Understanding the dos and don'ts of social media

  • Don't fall into the trap of being "too personal" on Facebook. Never air your dirty laundry on Facebook (although it can be great entertainment for everyone else) and argue, share inappropriate photos or jokes that can be offensive either.
  • Be wary about your privacy settings and who can see your posts, photographs and personal details on ALL platforms.
  • Never let people know you're on holiday unless there is someone else at home.


To sum up...

Dads aren't expected to understand social media.If yours does, he earns a little respect - as long as he's doing it right. 



For some it's a generational thing and they're never *quite* going to understand the "fad", but one thing is for sure, it's something they all love when they get to see baby pictures and family celebrations... So save yourself the stress and send them this blog post!

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