There is this myth, often inaccurate, that anyone over 50 is Internet and social media inept. I lived on this planet for more than half a century, and not only enjoy social media for personal and business purposes, but also have several friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest who are my parents’ age.
We're certainly not clueless, and needless to say, when on my 50-th birthday I wrote on my Facebook wall, “It is not over the hill, we called the landscapers, and they moved the hill!” it was applauded by many likes.
More and more seniors learn to use Internet and join the social media circles, because it can be fun and provides many benefits. These are some of them:
1. Stay in touch with family
Although most kids have nowadays their own devices called “phones,” they rarely use them to “call” people. Grandma waiting for a call can be a very lonely grandma. The same grandma on Facebook will have a chance to browse through loads of pictures and videos, some of them fondly uploaded just for her. For the kids are still loving kids, just their means of communication changed.
Such connection becomes critical for families living far apart. Updates and family news can be precious both ways. The seniors can enjoy images of growing grandkids and participate in their small and big events, and the kids can watch their elderly. To see them online and well, is often important, particularly when they live alone.
Not to mention that, all the cyber-hugs and story exchanges cost next to nothing in comparison to the phone, printing and postage bills they produced in the past.
2. Reconnect with old friends
The social networks enable us to read posts, see pictures, view videos and have conversations with people who we thought we’d never see again. People are finding their best friends from elementary school, high school crushes, and college roommates. There are stories, memories, and pictures to be shared, and for many that may have been otherwise home-bound, this new venue of socializing can be lifesaving. It provides them with opportunity to mingle with people without going out of the living room.
3. Belong to a community
The importance of socializing and being a part of a community cannot be overstated. The social networks allow to meet others and pursue networking events with like-minded people. Many communities offer opportunities for people of all ages to learn from one another, to share talents, and to work together on shared goals. From arts and crafts shows, through charity events, book clubs, even safety awareness programs, many virtual communities offer knowledge, fun and a sense of belonging.
4. Research and find deals
Didn’t you ever get frustrated navigating a 1-800 number phone line menu labyrinth? By using tools available online, people are able to research and learn at their own pace without being rushed or intimidated.
They can cultivate hobbies and collect recipes on Pinterest, create lists of business ideas on Twitter, collect and research health reports, insurance news and other information by following groups and Business Fan Pages. By watching their favorite businesses and brands, seniors can save money by taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Many times freebies and discounts are available only to Facebook fans or for Twitter followers.
I personally belong to couple of Facebook Garage Sales Pages run within local communities. Talking about treasures, tips and recommendations you can find there!
For many active seniors 65 is no longer the age of retirement. Many would like to continue working, often sharing lifelong expertise as consultants and freelancers. Several people I know look forward to retirement, to venture into the business of their dreams and start something they always knew they’d love to be doing. Social networks enable them to find customers, post resumes, network, and advertise. With so many online productivity and networking tools, the opportunities are endless.
6. Bear witness to history and leave a legacy
I will miss many stories that died with my Grandpa. Living through two World Wars he partook in a wealth of historical events. He was not very verbal about them while younger, since the political climate around was, so to say, not promoting such memories. Few stories my mom managed to write down. But we were still left with handful of nameless pictures, their affairs untold.
Seniors are people who have been “in the trenches” longer than us. Based on what they remember and by using online tools to gather data and research, they could build a legacy of priceless memories. The possibility of sharing about their participation in historical vents, often with hope to find old acquaintances, motivates even more diligent research. Ever heard great stories about unbelievable online reunions or discoveries? Would you care to tell?
We all know seniors keeping their minds active with crossword puzzles, Sudoku or scrabble. These games can be played on social media with family and friends, and they also come with skill levels and font sizes that can be easily modified.
And who is to say what other than traditional games we all, regardless of age can enjoy? My kids still remember how I beat the computer playing Pokémon Puzzle League…
All right, that was still before my fiftieth birthday.
Do you know any cool social media story, reunion or new friendship? Please, share.
is a graphic designer and photography enthusiast.
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