My mum and dad had never heard of blogging, my husband thought I was having some sort of mid-life crisis and most of my friends nodded their heads with limited (dis?)interest when I told them I was starting a blog.
It was a conversation at a wedding about Snapchat that started me on my path. I hadn’t ever used it and didn’t know the first thing about how it was used other than the funny filters I had seen on people’s photos. I realised I was growing out of touch with how fast the digital world and social media was moving.
As a mum, I am already painfully aware that my girls are going to grow up in a world that is vastly different to the world that we grew up in. Social media and all its ugly realities are ingrained in the lifestyle of the youth of today, and it’s not going anywhere. It will continue to change the behaviour of a generation. It will open up the previously sheltered world in which our children blossom in to adults, in to one where their every moment is shared, sometimes intimately, with virtual friends. And frequently strangers too.
I’ve seen Stacey Dooley’s documentary where she interviews Britain’s major drugs ring, whose digital dealers using fake profiles on Instagram, Snapchat and new social app Yellow now generate 75% of their drug revenue. It is a great watch if you need sobering up to the new dangers our children will face on social media.
I am not naive. The challenge for me as a parent isn’t to try and stop a foregone conclusion; they will grow up with social media as the norm. The challenge is to understand their world so that I can be the best parent I can. The parent I want to be.
I’m just not sure though that we’ll be able to stay ahead of the game as our kids are going to be so much more tech savvy than the vast majority of us. So keeping up to date as much as I possibly can is the best I can hope for. Isn’t it?
Like most of our generation, I have a Facebook account. But the kids nowadays don’t like Facebook anymore; they don’t want to be on the same social media as their parents. It’s all about Instagram and Snapchat. And there will be new ones which come along in the next few years before my daughters are old enough for their own account….
Since starting my blog, I now have a profile on every social media platform available. You see, blogging isn’t just about writing an article and publishing it on your blog; if you don’t get people to read it, it’s pretty pointless. So the challenge is in building your tribe.
I’m loving seeing what makes a pin go viral on Pinterest, I’m learning how tweet hours on Twitter grow my reach and I’m finding out how hard it is to make Facebook work for me when people prefer pretty images on Instagram. Oh Instagram, you are beautiful but there is so much game playing with following and unfollowing by those in pursuit of the dizzying heights of thousands of followers. It’s quite insane. And eye opening.
My tribe is growing… slowly but surely. But for me, it isn’t the size of my social following which motivates me. It’s the growth in my understanding of all these social media which is my biggest accomplishment so far.
You see, my blogging story isn’t purely one of a someone who has a passion for personal finance and travel and wants to share it with the world. It’s one of a mum who is driving herself to stay on top of the world her children are growing up in as best she can.
At 36, I have built myself a website from scratch and I am pretty damn proud of that in itself. It’s not perfect but I designed it myself; I could have employed a developer but I wanted to learn how to do it. I am upskilling myself in social media management as well as learning how to automate it all so that I don’t need to be attached to my phone 24/7. I am taking courses in search engine optimization and I’m amazing myself when I see my articles on Google (not front page yet but I’m working on that!). And I am getting The Money Whisperer‘s name out there; I am being paid to write about companies, I’m being given freebies and my blog is earning me money. This is a wonderfully unexpected bonus from what started as a hobby to enable me to be the parent I want to be.
My children are only 3 and 5 years old. 80% of jobs they could walk in to when they leave school haven’t even been invented yet because the digital revolution is progressing so fast. Yes – read that again and digest what that really means for our children’s generation.
These kids won’t have to work as waitresses and golf caddies like we had to for our Saturday jobs to earn pocket money. As soon as they are savvy enough, they’ll be taking advantage of the digital opportunities open to them. My new skills will enable me to help my daughters if this is a path that they choose and for that, I am very thankful.
I will be encouraging them to share my blogging journey and to learn with me as they grow so that social media and digitalisation is a positive thing for them. I want them to understand the positive elements of social media. I want to be ahead of the game so that I can steer them away from the darker parts of it.
Being the best parent I can be is important to me. Through my blogging journey, I hope that I am an inspiration to my girls to succeed in the digital world they have been born in to. A world where anyone can be someone through social media and a digital presence. A positive digital world.
I have recently completed Emma Drew’s course on blogging which is jam packed with step by step instructions for setting up a blog and all of its associated social media channels to enable the blog to generate income. I would HIGHLY recommend it – I have loved it.