More and more seniors use social networks daily to communicate with family members or obtain information. We will help you take the first steps to use these networks best.
Social networks have radically changed the lives of young and old alike. They have become virtual meeting places, the main information channels, a means to communicate from anywhere in the world, and online leisure centers a tool to stay in touch with family and friends and to alleviate loneliness during the closures and social exclusion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although innovative digital tools are constantly being updated, they are intuitive and easy to use. Anyone with an Internet-connected device can dive into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest dives.
Even older people new to the digital social world have already integrated them into their daily lives. They need to take into account age, cultural level, or purchasing power. It is in your hands to get more out of it. We will help you do so.
Older people use social networks too
The digital divide between 35- to 40-year-olds and those over 60 is no longer so great. The accessibility and ease of use of cell phones and tablets have opened the doors of the virtual world to people who, until a few years ago, had nowhere near a computer.
Several studies reflect this reality, such as the 2010 report by All Assisted Living Homes that indicates that 11% of Facebook users are over 65 years old, while one of the leading research centers in the United States, Pew Research, shows that among users of Facebook, Twitter and Skype, there are more than 39 million people over the age of 65. The Global Web Index shows that one of the populations that have driven Twitter’s growth in recent years is adults between the ages of 55 and 64.
The use of social networks by older people
Who says social networking is only for the young and modern? If the 60s are over, they can complement your leisure time and be a useful and easy way to stay in touch with those around you. Using social networks in the third age opens up thousands of possibilities, including:
- Communicating with any family member or person, at any time and from any place.
- To be informed about what is happening in the world.
- To be informed only about what interests us.
- To meet new people with whom we get along well or have common interests.
- To share moments of our lives with those we love who are not in the same place.
- Publicizing companies, services, offers, etc.
- Follow people, programs, institutions, associations, brands, and companies that interest us for one reason or another.
Benefits of social networks for seniors
The benefits of social networks for seniors, as mentioned above, range from making it easier to stay in touch with one’s loved ones to staying abreast of everything happening worldwide.
They are proving to be particularly important in the current health crisis caused by the coronavirus. Logically, they can be acquired by any user.
However, in the case of the elderly, they can benefit even more because of their special situation:
Contacting old friends
Elderly people often remember old friends and colleagues with whom they have lost contact. You never know if that childhood friend will become an inseparable companion again. Nowadays, thanks to social networks, by typing in a person’s name, we can find him, send a message and get back in touch.
We can join a fishing group, get special travel deals, find courses for specific individuals, and find information about destinations you’ve always been interested in, if you type just one of these words into the social network’s search engine, a multitude of ways to enhance your social life will appear. You can also find a partner or new friends with the same interests as you. And why not?
Being informed about what interests us
The media are generalists and often focus on topics that do not interest everyone equally. Social networks allow older people to learn about more specific topics that match their interests and tastes. They can even follow alternative, more minority, or specialized media or people dealing with political, sports, or cultural information that particularly interests them.
Useful tools to get started with social networks
Through these platforms, we can inform ourselves and take the first steps to use different social networks.
First, if we do not have an email address, we need to create an account on one of the various free servers: Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook.
Once we have created our email account, we can sign up for one, several, or all of the social networks.
These are the most popular ones that will interest you the most if you are an older adult:
The network you like most to keep in touch with your friends, family, interest groups, chats, etc.
It is the queen to be instantly updated with all the news. You can follow the profiles that interest you most and also comment, but remember to use no more than 140 characters. Your profile name should start with an @, and you can address with the # followed by a word related to the topic.
If you have an account on this social network, you can talk for free with other people who are also connected in real time. You can also videoconference if your cell phone, computer, or tablet has a video camera.
It is the social network of choice for photo sharing because its main purpose is to let you see your friend’s and family’s photos and your own. It also lets you play with filters that magically enhance your snapshots without having to be an expert in the field.
If you want to go further and share your photos because you like them and are interested in them, this is your social network. Photographers, amateurs, and professionals from all over the world post their photos, which you can pin (i.e. indicate that you like them) and add to pinboards where you can organize them as you wish.
It is the social network that no smartphone should be without. It is very easy to use and allows you to send and receive text messages, photos, documents, or videos in real time, with no character limit or cost. You can also set up group conversations and make free video calls.
If you’re an older adult interested in using social media, you should keep a few things in mind. First, take your time to learn how to use the various platforms and tools available. There’s no need to hurry – you can take your time and learn at your own pace. Second, be aware of the potential risks associated with social media use, and take steps to protect your privacy and safety. Finally, remember that social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family and can be a lot of fun. So go ahead and give it a try!