The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

What Young Professionals Don’t Understand About Social Media

Millennials, America is officially ours.

Pew Research Center reports millennials will overtake baby boomers in 2015 as the largest living generation in the US.

Bravo, everyone. We did it. Soon enough, everyone will bow to Generation Y. We make the rules! We call the shots!

When millennials have full control, I’m certain we will eliminate:

– cable TV subscriptions

– sketchy taxi cabs

– land line telephones

Oh, the telephone. What a waste of time. Why dial a number and use our mouths when we can fire off a tweet?

Here’s the problem: millennials think social media is a place to have conversations. Incorrect. Social media is a place to begin conversations.

Twitter is a remarkable networking tool and connects us with anyone, anywhere. But we can’t cement a new relationship unless we physically talk to each other, either over the phone, on a video chat or in person. Before our baby boomer parents head for retirement, we should respect the ease with which they pick up a phone and handle themselves.

See: 4 Essential Steps for the Perfect Networking Meeting

Since our generation is so fluent with technology, we think we created a new paradigm for relationship building. Like all we have to do is send tweets and emails back and forth to develop trust and rapport. Sorry. It’s not that easy and it never will be — no matter how many apps and messaging platforms we build to “bring us together.”

Actual human interaction is worth more than a 1,000 tweets.

I have gained so many meaningful relationships with News To Live By because I “met” the person on Twitter and then we either talked on the phone or grabbed coffee in person. If I relied exclusively on social media, I would have a grand total of zero friends in the blogosphere.

The next time you brush with someone on social media and want to deepen the relationship, do one of three things:

– Ask for a phone call

– Ask for a video chat

– Ask to meet in person

Something like:

“Hey, it would be great to chat by phone and get to know you better. Let me know when you’re free for a quick call.”


“Hey, are you free to grab coffee later this week? It would be great to meet in person.”

Once you talk on the phone, make eye contact in a video chat or shake hands in person, the relationship can move forward. Then you two might discuss ways to work together and everything starts to hum.

That’s why the best networkers use social media to meet the right people and then look for ways to take the discussion “offline.”

In other words, young professionals today should be a blend of millennial and baby boomer qualities.

OK, so we’ll call it a tie. Who needs to be the best generation, anyway?


What else can baby boomers teach millennials?

Share below!


Featured photo: Williamedia (Flickr)


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