Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Why Being 27 is More Fun than Being 21

Late Twenties Are Happier Than The Early Twenties

Life is an adventure - especially at scenic places like Wollongong.
I am glad to be 27. Late twenties are a much better age than the early twenties. Life seems easier and more manageable in the late twenties. Here are some reasons why:

College graduation was more than a few years ago

More career opportunities can exist, for someone who graduated from university more than a few years ago. There is less image of professional and personal naiveté. A stereotype does not appear as often in conversations that have a corporate context.

I completed my bachelors degree in mid-2012, with a September graduation ceremony. The first year or two were difficult, because people made assumptions about my abilities. I had already worked in an office for 9 months during my undergrad days. Yet people sometimes assumed that I was only close to starting my 'first real job' after I 'finished uni.' That last part is in inverted commas, because I went back for courses like grad school anyway.

Now, at 27, the days as a 'recent graduate' are behind me. I can now say that I have more than 4 years of professional experience since graduation from my Bachelor of Business, majoring in marketing. Four years are enough to establish a proper professional reputation.

Wisdom from age and yet youthful adventurousness

My perspective is different in these years of being a late-twenty-something-adult. I do not regret the past, as it shaped my current ideas and beliefs. But grown-up experiences did show me what I want. It is amazing being able to say that I do not want something, because experience and evidence can show why particular choices would not work. I also feel more sure of the decisions that I do make, being able to finally call them 'informed decisions.' 

Freedom of young adulthood without restrictions of youth

I am still young enough to not be 'settled down.' This provides a freedom to take risks and try new adventures. My diverse work background allows me to try almost anything, within the area of communications. There is freedom to travel where we want, without needing to consider wishes of many family members.

I am loving life as a 27 year old 

Twenty seven is not young, yet it is not old. This age is beautifully set in the middle, between youth and 'middle age.' Life is better than ever.

Melanie Suzanne Wilson - selfie near home

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Craving Community in a Digital World

Craving Community as a Millenial

A real sense of community is needed more than ever. The digital world can coexist with face-to-face interactive community experiences. Local group events are needed for true connection with fellow human beings. Digital tech and social media can facilitate in-person communities.

Digital and in-person experiences do not have to be an either-or. Social media is not in itself a bad thing. The way we use this technology can be helpful or harmful.

The popularity of social media is clearly evident. It can either be seen as a threat or an opportunity. Facebook had "1.18 billion daily active users on average for September 2016". Twitter claims to have 313 million monthly active users. Instagram recorded 600 million active users in December 2016, with an increase of 100 million in the 6 months prior. Social media is growing. It should be augmented with existing life, not contained as a world of its own.

Digital environments and local community groups must start getting along. A viral presence can be amazing. Personal online branding can be a change. However, online life is only part of a wholesome existence. How many of your Instagram followers would attend your birthday party? How many Twitter followers will even say something nice at all? For every Twitter star, there are trolls ready to remind us that the internet is not a safe haven from the harshness of reality.

Social media can be a lovely place. It is just not the only one. I enjoy watching updates from people I cannot always see in person. Actual friends, from past life stages, share photos of their various adventures. Facebook is currently the quickest way to spread the word about big announcements - such as illness, births, deaths and marriages. The online space provides valuable information about our lives and how we can improve wellbeing.

Online success must compliment "real-world" interaction. Meetup continues to bring like-minded people together, to events based on shared interests. Live Tweets can add to conversations during place-based events. Facebook "event" pages are efficient ways to spread awareness of actual gatherings. There are so many digital tools that can help community groups. 

Many community groups and organisations are now struggling, competing against the social fulfilment of online "likes" and "follows." This is a crushing trend to watch. I was brought up in a family that was very active in the community. Spirituality became informed through informative groups. Skills were developed in educational clubs. People have so much to gain from meeting face-to-face. 

Flexibility is one of the solutions to strengthen community groups. Life is more fast-paced and unpredictable. Travel requirements are quite common. Online resources are now expected from stakeholders. Community organisations and associations must modernise, by combining their existing experiences with today's technology. 

Plenty of online individuals would be glad to know their local events, which are held close to their workplaces or homes. Location-based online PR is essential. Centralised organisations must now decentralise their messages. Meetup groups should exist based on immediacy to locations. Facebook pages should outline benefits for local audiences. By all means, tell the whole world about the amazing work by the nearest groups. However, remember to target online messages to people who are most relevant. 

Online connections are essential for modern survival of local community groups. Face-to-face interaction continues to be a crucial form of engagement in modern life. People do not have to be isolated by the technology they consume. Tech should be used as a tool to enhance a thriving balanced life. It takes a village.