View pictures of your grandchildren on their first day of school. Share a news story you like with others. Look up a long-lost friend from college.
With just a little typing and a few clicks of the mouse, you can do all that and more on your computer, thanks to social media.
More older adults than ever before are using social media. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 64% of people age 65 and older say they use the Internet—and a third of seniors say they use social media. This shows that more seniors have access to computers and Internet and, just as important, are more comfortable using them.
Social media lets you to stay in touch with family and friends in a whole new way. Get started with the three most popular media platforms:
You’re sure to find someone you know on Facebook—more than 2.07 billion monthly active users belong to this popular site, according to Statista. Create a personal profile that displays the information you choose to share, such as your favorite books, movies and quotes. Logging in takes you to your News Feed, which is personalized with your friends’ status updates. You also can upload photos and videos and join groups based on your interests. Chat services, wall posts and messaging capabilities are a few of the ways you can connect with others on Facebook.
Join the 330 million active monthly users registered on Twitter, a free real-time messaging system, to share updates about yourself and find out what’s going on with others. Your updates, called “tweets,” are limited to 280 characters in length, but you can pair them with videos, photos or article uploads. You can choose which Twitter users you want to follow and read your followers’ messages in one place.
This platform bridges the long-distance gap, thanks to its free video calling service that allows you to chat face-to-face with friends and loved ones worldwide. So, if you can’t attend your niece’s birthday in person, you can do so virtually. Basic video calling services are free; you may pay a small fee for other services. A similar video option for Apple users: FaceTime.
Social media use is not without its caveats, so keep yourself, your identity and your information safe as you enjoy social media with these tips:
- Safeguard your accounts with secure passwords that use a variety of characters such as letters, punctuation symbols and numbers.
- Don’t accept friend or videochat requests from people you don’t know or don’t want to connect with.
- Carefully research the privacy policies of each social media platform you use, and personalize your account’s privacy settings as you see fit. On some sites, such as Facebook, you can see how your profile appears to both friends and non-friends.
- Don’t post your home address, and avoid posting address-identifying information, such as the places you frequent or phone numbers. Never post pictures of you or family members in front of your residence—or theirs. And if you’re leaving town, don’t announce your travel plans online. Wait until after you’re home from that great Caribbean cruise to rave about it.
- Share info, photos and videos with close friends and family, but be mindful of what you’re sharing with those you don’t know well. Don’t put anything out there that you wouldn’t want others to see.
- Don’t download third-party applications—such as Facebook polls and quizzes—without researching them first. Hackers can use these applications to steal your personal information.
Many residents in Life Care Services’ senior living communities today enjoy social media and can help you get started. Learn more by contacting Life Care Services today!