How Social Networks Changed this Boomer’s Life

Did you know? That the fastest growing demographic on the social networks are the Baby Boomers? It’s true! Think about this for a second. We’re talking about a generation of our population born in the span from 1947 to 1963 – a decade-plus of people in pre-retirement, settled in their lifestyles, and chided by their children for being “un-cool,” “unconnected,” and “under-informed.”

Surprised? Don’t be. Social networks like Facebook® and Twitter® are finding increasing numbers of Boomers flocking to these tools to renew old friendships, rekindle past romances, connect with new acquaintances, and stay abreast of their kids’ activities – whether the kids like it or not! Equally important is the connection these tools give Boomers to information they need to know about the aging process.  And while I’ve never considered myself a Boomer, I technically fit the profile.  And while my uses of Social Media may differ from yours, I want to share some information you may not yet have discovered on your own.

Staying Connected.   As we grow older we find that the people we’ve always spent a lot of personal time with are now busy with their lives and family obligations.  Time with peers becomes a precious commodity as we age, move around, and focus on our remaining career years.  And it’s not as easy as it once was to just pick up the phone and share a thought, feeling or belief with a trusted friend (sure, there’s the wife/husband, but sometimes you need someone not in the equation).

Case in point. This past weekend my wife and I had a gathering of close friends at our home to celebrate our 30 years of marriage. One of the people we invited was my Best Man at our wedding, someone I consider my very best friend, yet someone we have not seen face-to-face for many years.  The exchange of Christmas cards was always there, the annual telephone call, but with his active family and business, and our active schedules, getting to the same physical space was a chore.  They RSVP’d and made the 95 mile trek to our home.  I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed reconnecting; it was like we’d never been apart more than a week since high school.   And we departed that evening still the best of friends and now completely connected via Facebook® — making the times we can’t see each other a little easier to manage.

Life Lessons and Information.  I’ve found several internet websites while using both Facebook® and Twitter® that have become part of my routine reading and I thought they’d be worth sharing.

Clearly a leader in hits for an aging population is AARP of Washington’s Facebook® profile and internet site.  A great jumping off point to news, information, employment issues…you name it!

If you need a quick “positivity boost,” or you’re looking for something to lift your spirits — maybe you just need a resource to recommend to a loved one in need — then head on over to Facebook® and visit Simple Steps Real Change, where Cheryl and Jack Maloney host daily doses positive, thought-provoking energy!

On the radio and on the web, John Tesh’s is bridging information from John’s nationally syndicated radio show to your fingertips on the World Wide Web. John’s team rounds out the 360 experience with his Facebook® site, facebook.com/JohnTesh.  These are a couple of favorites of mine, and from each of these sites you can jump to any number of additional web pages, Facebook® or Twitter® profiles, to find the information you feel best suits your needs.

Local and World News – 140 Characters at a Pop! For me, Facebook® and Twitter® are my windows to the world. Just over a year ago the Bailey household cut both television and the daily newspaper out of our lives. That’s right; no newspaper delivery to the house that, by the time we got home and could read it, the news was stale. No more watching network news that then led to watching a game show, followed by prime time shows, and closing out the night with the 11 o’clock news. Miss it? Not really. In total, the change immediately saved us $95 a month in satellite television fees and $25 a month for the newsprint. Sure, we still take the Sunday paper…with all the coupons, Saturday sports wrap-up and comics in color; but with no “boob tube” in the corner vying for our attention, my “honey-do” list of home projects is finally being whittled down to manageable.

Same News, Different Media. Today I let information posted to Twitter® and Facebook® edit the news for me. If I see an interesting tweet from a news organization (or one of my Tweeps) I want to read or watch – I just click the link posted with the tweet. I don’t have the luxury of time to sit through a newscast waiting on the stories I want to see; and I like to think I’m saving a tree or two on newsprint usage. When you consider that every news organization posts to the internet and many are now streaming their live shows online, it just makes sense for me to take the news at my leisure…not theirs.

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Clean Up Your Act!

There isn’t one of us who hasn’t interacted with someone who seemed to have given up on their basic grooming habits. Let’s face facts; there are days we all feel like rolling out of bed, pulling on yesterday’s clothes with a baseball cap, and going about our day.  We can use “it’s a weekend” excuse on Saturday and Sunday (unless getting laid is on our agenda), but during the week we owe it our loved ones and co-workers to make an effort.  And if we’re not spending the day working in the yard or garage, we should respect our family members enough to try to not offend them too much.

Morning hair?

I’m far from perfect in this arena, but I’m fortunate to have a wife who’s not at all shy about pointing out caterpillar eyebrows, or errant nose hairs. Thanks, Babe!  If you’re not blessed with a partner who speaks their mind — or your eyesight has changed enough that seeing these little issues that annoy others isn’t as easy as it once was — the following are my own personal opinions about several grooming areas we guys tend to ignore.  Most of this comes from years of reading GQ and Playboy magazines, both great resources for today’s look for clothing and grooming.  Here’s what I think and so far it’s working for me (still married after 30 years!).

Hair:  There’s just no reason to settle for a $5 or $10 haircut. The #1 electric clipper buzz cut is for boys under 12, the military, and any number of anarchist groups. If you’re not one of these, pony-up twenty bucks for a comb and scissors styling.  There are a few, and I mean few, stylist who can do a good job with comb and

Just say "No!"

electric shears, but they’ve honed their skills over years of work learning when to change adapters or how to simply use the comb to adjust length. The only exception to the “no buzz cuts” rule we reserve for those of you saddled with early onset MPB (male-patterned baldness).  If this is you, take it all off and be proud of your Kojack-ness!  Any attempt to hide your situation will only look like you’re trying to hide your situation.

Full beards:  I have to tread carefully on this subject as you can see from my avatar.  But that’s me in the fall, as I prepare to don a red suit to become Santa Claus for Christmas.  The issue with full beards is the lack of trimming – which is fine if you’re preparing for a big hunting season, or learned to grind a mean guitar for that ZZ Top tribute band you’re forming.  If these three reasons (Santa, hunting, rock band) don’t apply to you, keep the facial hair neatly trimmed. Oh yeah…and shampoo it just like you would your head of hair!


Nose and ear hair:  I don’t have any answers to why, as soon as we’ve lost the ability to grow hair on our heads, we gain the innate ability to grow long hair out of our noses and ears!  Still, there’s no excuse for unsightly nose and ear hair.  A favorite source of info for men is AskMen.com. Here a link to their guide on the best trimmers for unwanted hair.  Buy one of these and let’s move on!

Hands & Feet:  Take care of these if you want to have regular contact with your favorite girl.  Our hands and feet take a lot of abuse and get very rough.  A monthly pedicure for the feet and regular use of lotion (after washing your hands) will keep you on the good side of your bed mate.  Have the pedicure technician use a clear lacquer on your toenails to keep them from snagging on your socks.

Your face: You only have one, and it’s the first thing people see in you when you meet.  It’s likely what helped you get your significant other to the altar or commitment.  Take care of your face with daily application of a oil-free lotion with SPF.  Keeping your skin hydrated will stave off the deep wrinkles that characterize the faces of so many guys as they get older.

Cologne: Look.  Very little cologne or aftershave goes a very long, long, long way!  If you’re using it to cover an odor, take a shower.  And don’t buy whatever is cheap, or on sale, or might smell good to you.

Nice!

YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO ATTRACT YOURSELF FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Have your woman with you when you’re buying cologne.  Studies show that a woman’s sense of smell is 20 or more times more sensitive than a man’s.  She smells things you cannot, and the right amount of cologne by your nose might knock her over or make her eyes start watering.  My wife and I have actually asked our waiter to re-seat us at one of our favorite restaurants when a man sat near us wearing too much cologne. If you’re not “getting it” as often as you’d like, and your partners hasn’t volunteered a comment about your cologne, ask them how they feel about it. That could be the silver bullet you’re missing to the action you’re craving!