Have you hopped on the bandwagon of snapping, posting, sharing, liking and tweeting yet?
Involvement in social media is gaining popularity among older age groups. Seniors are increasingly using it to find news and information, share experiences, and connect with friends and family. According to recent Pew Research, 67% of seniors ages 65 and up use the internet today – a 55% increase in just under two decades. Of those who are online, nearly one-third of seniors report using social media, and that number is growing.
With kids out of school, summer can be a great time to stay in touch with teenage and pre-teen grandchildren to keep up with their vacations and adventures via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more. However, the intricacies of social media etiquette may not always be apparent and can even be intimidating. So we put together a list of five Dos and Don'ts of social media to keep in mind to help you communicate with friends and loved ones positively, safely and effectively.
1. Do manage your privacy settings. Many social media platforms like Facebook default new accounts to “sharing” mode. So before you start posting and interacting with others, go into your settings and be sure to adjust them so that you know exactly who will be able to see your content.
2. Do be selective. Decline friend requests and messages from strangers. The safest way to use social media is to only engage with your close friends and family. It’s better to have a close circle of friends who you care about and interact with instead of a large number of followers who you don’t know (and who don’t know you).
3. Don’t overshare. If a website asks for personal information, such as your full name, birthday, and address when you sign up, be sure to adjust your settings so that only your close friends can see it. Be conscious about sharing details about family members, such as your grandchild’s name, age, and school, to keep him or her safe from strangers. Never share information like your social security number or bank account details. Be careful about sharing your location, and wait to post about vacations until after you or your relatives have returned to avoid clueing potential burglars into knowing someone is away from home.
4. Do watch your comments. Even though you mean well, online communication can often be perceived differently than you think. For example, some users may not realize that writing with CAPS LOCK ON generally means you’re yelling at someone. It’s best to comment carefully and steer clear of anything having to do with touchy subjects, such as politics, religion and appearance so that you don’t offend or embarrass friends and family.
5. Don’t share without asking for permission first. If you’re posting a photo of someone else or a group, make sure that person is okay with being tagged first. You may be proud of your grandson’s graduation photos or your daughter’s new job, but some people are particular about having their photos shared with folks in other networks that they don’t know--especially if they haven’t shared the news yet themselves.
Social media can be a healthy way for residents to stay connected to their loved ones. Using proper etiquette will allow you to get the most out of your experience, as well as to be considerate and stay safe while online. Here’s how some of our tech-savvy residents are already using social media:
Kay Brenner from Villa Serena (also featured on TheseEyesHaveSeen) said:
My friends were worried about me not being social enough. But while I don't do cards and bingo, I go home and I am social online. I'm on Facebook, but I don't do Twitter or those other ones. I'm friends with people on Facebook that I have lost touch with throughout the years and I've been able to reconnect with them. I especially like to keep in contact with people that I have met in my travels. I check in with my family too. I love seeing the grandkids’ pictures and videos. I saw my granddaughters’ first steps on Facebook!"
"I would encourage other seniors to use social media if they have that type of personality, but it's not for everyone. I have seen scams on Facebook and I am aware of those, so I unfriend people if I need to."
Ledorna Israel from Villa Serena said:
"My son told me he didn't want the whole world to know where I was all the time, but I’ve always had computers and I think that helps. I got my first iPad in 2011. I have family all around the world and I like that I can connect with them. I like Instagram the best because it's more private with my followers."
Beth Minor from Country Club Village said:
"Facebook has been a part of my life for many years. I have reconnected with friends from the states in which we lived during my husband's employment with Mobil Oil. It's also a way to connect with my boys and their families. I come from a large family and it's fun to see the activities of my many cousins. There are games on the internet I like to play with others, especially Words With Friends. It helps me keep up with my vocabulary. My life would not be as full and meaningful without social media!"
How do you use social media? Share with us on our Facebook page!
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living