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After decades in real estate, Dave Hughes was ready for his encore career. He applied for jobs at nonprofit organizations near his new home in eastern Oregon, hoping to capitalize on his years of church volunteer work. He got no offers.

“We needed the additional income,” he says. “My wife told me, ‘Get a job now.’” So Hughes took a three-month job at the local Walmart, which led to a promotion to receiving manager.

My Twitter ‘hatch date’ (when I joined Twitter) was Sept. 20, 2009. Back then, it was a fairly new social networking platform, and I frequently found myself asking, “What’s the point?” As I approach my third anniversary, I’ve learned quite a bit from this new medium of online communication.

If you’re a boomer who has decided to brave the vast Twitterverse, here’s my list of the top five things I wish I knew when I started.

At an early age I learned how focusing on one’s own position in life, status and property can have devastating consequences. I would not be here today if my very courageous and astute father had not managed to get himself, my mother and I out of the Czech Republic after the Nazis had occupied it. We dropped everything, including a very comfortable home, business and lifestyle.

Regrettably the rest of my large family did not or could not follow his example and paid for it with their lives.

Priscilla Santiago of Bridgeport, Conn., is a mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of five. At 63, she was also one of the oldest students to receive a bachelor's degree from Post University in 2011. Santiago left high school at 16 after a devastating sexual assault. Laid off from her job at age 59, she reinvented her life. She spoke with Huff/Post50 editor Laura Rowley.

As I said in a recent blog post, Twitter has a tendency to confuse millennials and boomers alike. Users are required to truncate thoughts to 140 characters (or less) and attempt to follow a never-ending stream of random conversation (or tweets) from people they may or may not know. It can be overwhelming.

Social media can be a bit like Mardi Gras. It’s fun. It’s colorful. You meet lots of people from all walks of life. But, like any party, it’s not always clear who to give your phone number to at the end of the night.

I get a lot of questions about meeting new people online. The most common one is this: “What if I get Facebook and LinkedIn requests from people I’ve never met. Should I accept?”

That’s completely up to you, but here’s my take on building meaningful relationships online.

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If you’ve ever thought, “Hmmm, I ought to learn more about social media,” consider this blog post your toe in the water.

I'm a millennial and my job at Civic Ventures (www.encore.org) includes handling social media. Some of you are already familiar with social media. I hope I can make the rest of you comfortable enough to venture in.

This post is part of a series sponsored by Fast Company and Catchafire on the future of service in America.

People who are between midlife and old age are looking for another round of service with the same motivations that young people have--to give back, to have an adventure, to acquire experience, and to gain credentials and credibility.

AARP’s Jane Pauley didn’t mince words on this morning’s Your Life Calling segment on NBC’s Today show.

Jenny Bowen, she said, had no child development expertise, no foreign policy experience and no knowledge of the Chinese language when she set out to radically change the quality of care for the nation’s 800,000 orphans, 95 percent of whom are girls.

If you’re wondering how to figure out what’s next in your life, take three minutes and watch this clip from Emmy-award winning journalist Jane Pauley.

LEARN ABOUT THE BIG SHIFT

In his book – The Big Shift – Encore.org founder and CEO Marc Freedman
argues that though we’re getting older, most of us are not getting old … at least not yet.
About the Big ShiftAbout Marc Freedman