If you remember the Monkees you’re of an age that probably has you scratching your head wondering what all this social media is about. Well, I do remember the Monkees and I still remember my favourite, it was Mickey Dolenz the drummer. It kind of worked liked this; boys liked Mickey and girls liked David Jones (he still looks cute at 64 – yes he’s that old).

When social media first hit us through MySpace I tried to use it but didn’t quite get it. This business about free expression for everyone to see was not for me. We tend to become more private as we get older. It was bugging me I must admit. I’ve dedicated the last 10 years of my life to the digital space lecturing and running two businesses so someone like me surely must be into social media. I tried and tried but it just wasn’t exciting me. I felt like an imposter. It wasn’t a technological gap that was stopping me – I was fine there – it was one thing that was missing that has only just dawned on me.

If you’re in the same boat as me, wanting to have a digital go but just can’t get it to stick, I have the answer and it’s called PURPOSE. If you don’t have a purpose, social media is of little use. Now don’t start sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, my 2 teenage boys use social media extensively mainly for – wait for it – social purposes, just hanging out which is a purpose, certainly to them. Some call it the digital shopping mall. Instead of kids loitering around the shopping mall in the physical sense, they now loiter around the computer, just chatting and hanging out (as a parent at least you know where they are).

My light bulb went on when I joined a social networking site called LinkedIn In the evolutionary scale it works like this in terms of maturity; myspace (apparently myspace is soooo yesterday according to my kids) then Facebook (did you know Facebook has added 50million more users worldwide since April!) and then there’s LinkedIn. Think of it as Facebook for professionals. Well I love it.

Through LinkedIn I have joined 4 specialist groups where I read, contribute and comment on highly specialised discussions in the digital space (here’s my public LinkedIn profile One group which I was very fortunate to be accepted into was a group called Executives @ Australian New Media. Every day before my working day begins I get to read and chat with the best and the brightest in the Australian new media scene. I now have a purpose and have become quite a social media nut.

So if you just don’t know where to start in this social media space, define your purpose and I’m sure that in this digital world you will find like minded people willing to share knowledge and to build a community with you.

Now back to the Monkees – did anyone ever like Michael Nesmith?