November 21, 2017

2017 Girls In Technology Summit: 10 Tips For Staying Sane Online

A few weeks ago I was invited to the new Adobe Shoreditch offices to give a short talk to a selection of local East London schools to girls between the ages of 14-16 as part of the 2017 Girls In Technology Summit. I was asked to share some advice and lessons learnt from the Internet. I feel like this is one of the most important topics for teens right now, how to navigate your own online world in a way that feels like you are in control of it, and your tech isn’t in control of you. I of course wrote about my teen years growing up online in my book Ctrl Alt Delete from a Millennial point of view and even though tech has evolved so much (RIP MSN) I remember it all so vividly, with the help of many a diary that I wrote and kept from my teen years. I took the time to write some current bullet points on what I’ve learned over the past few years with the girls on how I stay sane online.

I thought I would share them on here too. This blog post obviously isn’t word for word the presentation I did, but you get the jist. I really enjoyed doing this, massive thanks to Adobe for inviting me and to the girls for being so engaged.

1. 65% of future jobs haven’t been invented yet.

So, all we can do right now is learn the tools to future-proof ourselves and set ourselves up for success in a different way that might look different from past successes. This is what my new book The Multi-Hyphen Method is about and I’m excited to share all my hints and tricks and tips with the world.

2. No one has the absolute answer when it comes to technology.

If you search for an ‘expert’ on Linkedin, you’ll get over 4.5 million results, according to a recent article I read. We’re in a time where are all learning, but people are very keen to slap ‘expert’ on to everything immediately. It’s a great time to find a niche and build an expertise around something new. But also be aware of certain newly proclaimed experts – you can also make your own informed opinion.

3. Curate your digital space as if it was your IRL space.

Would you go into a noisy violent pub with people waving sharp objects outside? Probably not. You’d probably hover outside first and check if there was proper danger inside before going in. So be cautious of dangerous or damaging territory online too. Curate an informative, educational, inspiring space online and offline. Treat them the same.

4. Nothing is ever totally private.

Our digital footprint follows us about. People screengrab ‘private’ DMs and tweet them. Emails get forwarded and printed. I wrote in my book Ctrl Alt Delete about a time someone shared some private messages of mine in a public forum when I was a teenager and how I felt about that. It shouldn’t freak us out, and it doesn’t make it right, but we should just use this information to empower ourselves and the decisions we make.

5. The Internet is like Stranger Things.

Yep. The Internet can be so nice, you can skateboard around and meet up with friends and eat icecream and backcomb your hair and then…sometimes you get dragged into the Upside Down. Or have Winona Ryder’s stress levels.

6. You can teach yourself stuff. It’s not always up to someone else.

It’s super important we learn to teach ourselves, feel confident in furthering our own knowledge on something and not be afraid to self-teach. Many of the jobs I do now weren’t invented when I was school and everything is self taught in terms of the tools and tech I use on a daily basis. Online tutorials (both free and paid for) can be wonderful.

7. Personal branding is key (and your first page of Google).

The first page of Google tells someone a lot about you. It’s your life-long CV. Aim to make it look good and positively reflect who you are.

8. The best connections happen IRL.

We don’t get true connections by sitting online and clicking around and getting new followers. It is important to get offline, be in person, make meaningful connections that aren’t based on online networking strategies.

9. You have a voice.

You really really do. Don’t be afraid to use it. Your voice is powerful and it can be amplified in so many more ways than before.

10. Your own definition of success is personal.

It doesn’t really matter what the person next to you is doing, because their definition of success might be wildly different to yours. Stay in your own lane, focus on your own goals, big or small.

To find out more about my partnership with Adobe go here.

For any future info on the above topics and more on digital careers, my new book Multi-Hyphen Method is available to pre-order here.

To get in touch with me about anything, go here!

My Book

“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”

– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE

"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"

– The Debrief

“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic