More than two years ago, I knew making a career change could give me a chance to make a new kind of impact. I spent years sending amazing journalists out into the “real world.” But I knew I could do more. I knew taking on the role of social media trainer at AARP could give me a platform to help all generations use the social web.
I have a big reason behind that. Her name is Jone Reeves and she was my mother-in-law. She taught me a lot about how some people can use the social web for the greater good for life and your family. I had a really cool opportunity to speak about Jone and my family during the TEDx Poynter Institute event in August 2014. I had a chance to merge my job with my life and tell a story that means a lot to me. I have a pretty deep emotional connection to the story. That may be the reason why I haven’t written about the talk until now. But I’ve started sharing it and I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback. But when my nine-year-old daughter watched, her reaction proved I should share it even wider. She walked up to me and declared, “I was so happy and sad at the same time. You made me cry.” Here’s what she’s talking about:
My talk is basically an extension of a post I wrote here a year ago about ways to have your family talk about technology. I believe talking about setting up boundaries and expectations with your family is important. It’s also important to discuss healthy ways to react to social media content as a family.
Working at AARP gives me a view of all kinds of life experiences along with services, opportunities and data on the ever-changing face of aging. It’s exciting to see generations of people learning to use the Internet together. I hope I continue to have these kind of opportunities to reach out, share perspective so more families can have positive experiences online together. It takes communication. It takes patiences. Most of all, it takes thoughtfulness to find ways to express a family-wide expectation on how the social web is used together. I may be a bit idealistic, but I’ve seen it work. Without a family connected online, I wouldn’t have the digital footprint of my mother-in-law. It’s something we will always cherish.