Sit Around The 2020 Social Media Campfire…
Should you start a blog in 2020? Is it too late to start a YouTube channel in 2020? How about a website? Is Social media just a waste of your time?
Thousands of people ask the same questions every day. They ask themselves, then they ask their friends, and eventually, they watch YouTube videos about the same topic and are still undecided to take the first step...
Social media is like fire. You can use fire to barbecue a nice salmon steak, bake an apple pie, or warm up your favorite tea. You can also use fire to burn down a house. I hope you are planning to use social media to create something that you would tell your friends about when you go on a camping trip and sit around the fire at night, sharing memories and ideas.
If you have an interesting story to tell around a campfire that will engage and interest your friends, you can start your social media adventure. At the end of this story, I will give you my 8 tips to start social media in 2020. First let me tell you a story that happened in the year 2000 in New Jersey, USA. This story has forever changed my life, just like it can change yours.
I am a computer instructor and I was teaching computer courses at the Computer Learning Center in Paramus, New Jersey. One morning, after eleven AM, as I was finishing the lessons for a Microsoft Office course, Steve, one of the IT lead instructors came into my class and from the look on his face, I knew right away, that something urgent was about to happen. Steve was a US marine and a veteran of the Iraq war. He is around six feet tall, blonde, muscular build and he reminds me of Jocko Willink. He was an amazing instructor and a fantastic human being; however, this morning his friendly smile has disappeared and I saw the shadows of great worry and the threat of danger on his face.
Years later when I tell this story to my class I always ask this question, before I tell the story.
“What can scare a US marine so much that his knees will turn into jelly?” As I ask the question I look around and scan the class of usually twenty adults, ranging from 18 to 60 years old. They always take at least 10 to 20 seconds to run the different scenarios through their head. What can scare a US marine so much that their legs turn into jelly? What do you think right now?
“His family was in danger.” came the answer from a forty-year-old woman.
“You are absolutely right.” As I answered I was happy that everyone held the marines in such high regard.
Steve has told me that his thirteen-year-old daughter ran away from home with her friend, another thirteen-year-old girl. They have been missing for three days and from their emails, the indications are that they are in New York. Steve tried to create some posters in Microsoft Word, with the pictures of the two girls side by side along with the word MISSING in all bold big letters and his cell phone number to be contacted if anyone sees the girls. Back then we used Office 97 and when you put two pictures side by side, they jumped around and it was not easy to make them fit. Thankfully I was just practicing for a Microsoft Office Specialist test for a Word exam and was pretty fast with all the features. I've created a table with two columns, inserted the pictures, used their information and the poster was ready in a minute. We have printed hundreds of copies and Steve was off to Manhattan to staple the flyers to every single structure that you can staple a poster to.
A few very tense hours passed by and around four PM someone called Steve on his cell phone. They saw the two girls as they went into a coffee shop. Steve told them to watch the girls as he jumped into his jeep and raced to New York. He was successful, grabbed the girls and came home to Jersey. His daughter was safe and also grounded for a year.
Everyone was happy that the girls had returned safe and sound. I was surprised that with such a mundane task as creating a table and formatting a document in seconds, instead of minutes; I may have saved two lives… I didn’t think much of the story until about a year later…
January 19, 2001, It was almost the end of January, Friday, the end of a workweek and everyone was looking forward to the weekend. As we left the building, our director who was usually a quiet man started yelling out a message with noticeable panic in his voice.
“Cash your paychecks today!!! Don’t wait! Cash your paycheck today!!!”
This was not the first warning sign; however, the danger still did not seem real.
I was working for one of the biggest privately held computer training companies in the USA. We had more than ten thousand students in eleven US states in over two dozen training centers. The company stock values were outstanding, my colleagues were fantastic, my students were amazing. I have received an outstanding achievement award a year earlier along with a thousand dollars and company stock options. I have trained two thousand students from New Jersey and New York and I loved my job. We even invested our own money into the business, we have worked for one of the most successful private training firms in the USA. I was sitting on cloud 9 when the bottom fell out. The US Department of Education has demanded that the company I worked for had to pay back 187 million dollars in student loans. The company has declared chapter 7 bankruptcy and by next Monday, I was out of a job.
January 22, 2001
Dressed up in a suit and a tie with my teacher’s bag in my hand, I was standing by the entrance of the school and read the notice above the yellow do not enter stripe. The US Department of Education has shut down the school and we had 30 minutes to remove our belongings from the building. After I have worked for the company for five years, I had trained two thousand students, helped to contribute to their success and as a result, I have increased the economic value of the Tri-State area by at least twenty million dollars; after all that I was out of a job.
My son, Peter was six months old and we could not live on only on my wife’s paycheck alone.
I was furious, disappointed, and determined to find the best job as fast as I could. As I was cleaning my garage for a few days to get my frustration out I was preparing a battle plan. I have sent out dozens of resumes and in a few weeks, I have received several favorable responses. Two of those responses were from the World Trade Centers and I was super excited to land a job and work in such a prestigious location. That was going to be my revenge. Land a top-notch job, working in New York in the World Trade Centers. I have set up two interviews on the same date, one at 2 PM another at 4 PM. I knew for certain that I would land one of those jobs. I was going to show those cheating, lying bastards that took my job, my retirement savings, and my dignity; I will show them who the man is.
7.30 AM Wednesday, March 22, 2001
I have just finished showering and put shaving cream on my face when the phone rang. I wiped off some of the shaving cream from the right side of my face and picked up the phone. It was from Steve.
“Listen, there is a Job opening here in Mahwah, it would be perfect for you. They are looking for a Microsoft Office instructor.” Steve sounded genuinely excited about the opportunity.
“How soon do they need someone?” I asked.
“As soon as possible, can you come in for an interview today? I can set one up for you for nine this morning.” Said Steve and I could just sense some kind of good energy coming through the phone line.
“OK, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Thank you so much, Steve. I’ll see you in a bit. What’s the address and the phone number?” I asked and never finished shaving so fast.
I landed that job by 9:30 and was sitting in my car, contemplating if I should still go to the two interviews in the World Trade Center. I drove home to Rockaway and canceled both interviews.
I was teaching a class in Mahwah, New Jersey when the two towers were destroyed. If Steve would have called me five minutes later, I would have gone to the interviews. It only occurred to me years later that the table that I have used to create a poster had two columns, just like the World Trade Center. If I would have suffered and taken too long to make the poster, Steve could have missed the window of opportunity to potentially save his daughters’ life. A year later he called me at the perfect time to change and to save my life. The circle of life had closed and none of this was a coincidence. Just keep in mind that when you help someone you may not see the influence of your actions until much later, but the butterfly effect has already started. With your actions, you create the waves of karma that can transform your life.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope that you agree; stories like this should be shared on social media. I am sure you have lived through some amazing experiences in your life and excited to share them with others. You may lift up someone’s spirit, give them advice, make them laugh, teach them something, or save someone’s life…
Now, as I promised, here are my top eight tips about social media:
1. The smallest skill or talent can be something that will turn into a significant event that is worth sharing. I never thought that being able to create a table in Microsoft Word and create a poster from it in less than a minute can save two lives and start a chain reaction that will also save a family. When you decide to improve any area of your life and share your challenges, you will grow as a person and can help others to achieve the same. Find a story in your life that offers value to others and share it on social media.
2. Give value, provide useful insights, offer free training, and give, give, give. Don’t ask for anything in return other than a thumbs up, comment, or a subscription. The money will come later. Find something that you are an expert at or at least knowledgeable and perfect your skills until you can craft a blog, a Facebook post, a YouTube video, or at least a Tweet. Start on the platform that feels most natural to you. If you are amazing on video, start YouTube, if you are a good writer, start a blog, if you like taking photos, start Instagram. If you want to know what Donald Trump is thinking, sign up for Twitter. There is something for everyone.
3. Start writing and document your ideas. All of them or at least as many as you can. You need to produce original written content to rank higher on Google. You will also need written scripts for your videos.
4. Register a domain name and claim your real estate on the web. You will need a website, where you can offer even more value to your customers and you are not limited to specific formats by social media sites. You can have text, videos, pictures, products, testimonials, downloadable content and other resources on your domain. I recommend GoDaddy or Wix.
5. As soon as you get a domain name and have an amazing website, sign up to be a Google webmaster. Learn how to use Google Analytics, Google Adsense, and Google Adwords. Wix offers a website builder that is integrated with Google Analytics and Google rankings. Make sure not to skip these steps and receive a notification about your website’s progress on Google.
6. When you have several valuable blog posts or YouTube videos and you know you can regularly produce more content, consider spending some money on Google Adwords or Facebook ads to boost your marketing. Make sure you target your marketing to locations and customers that will give you the most return for your investment.
7. Find professionals and friends that have similar interests and form your own tribe. Help, teach, challenge each other to be better, faster, happier, more fulfilled. Never stop learning and always seek new opportunities.
8. Prepare before you jump into Social Media Water. Write enough content to have at least three blog style articles. 700 to 1000 words long, each. List keywords for your web pages on your domain for Google search. Take at least a half a dozen amazing photos. Start collecting testimonials.
That is it for now, it’s not a complete list but it’s a start. For those of you that just start this journey, please leave a comment and tell me what you want to know more about. Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels that can provide you with more information.
Finally, here are some of my favorite videos to inspire you. Thank you for reading so far, please craft an amazing comment and visit one of my websites.for more entertainment.
"Your thoughts, words, emotions, beliefs, and imagination can invite circumstances, actions, and events that will help to manifest their reality." Attila Farkas
When you decide that these videos will have a positive impact on your life;' the magic can start happening within the first day...