Seniors, Can You Find Connection Via Social Media?


Seniors are on social media, and they’re here to stay!

Social media isn’t just a playground for the young. The landscape is changing, with people of all ages realising the benefits of staying in touch with friends and family on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Skype.

So why the surge? These days, having an understanding of social media is crucial to staying connected to social circles, particularly as we become older, travel more, and eventually, become less mobile.

It’s the easiest (and cheapest) way to keep up with what family and friends are doing, or simply letting them know how you are through posts and updates.  

As a response to the times, more and more savvy seniors are jumping online and getting connected. However, most surprising is how and why they’re doing it.

Seniors Vs. Millennials: How Do They Approach Social Media Etiquette Differently?

When it comes to etiquette, it’s interesting to note that seniors approach social media in much the same way as millennials. According to a recent study, Australian seniors’ top three no-nos when it comes to social media are:

  • Sending a personal message through a public post
  • Embarrassing others in public forums
  • Posting when overtired, intoxicated or emotional

On the other hand, the survey found that for millennials, the top three no-nos were:

  • Sending a personal message through a public post
  • Embarrassing others in public forums
  • Sharing intentionally vague/inane posts, chronic complaints, emotional dumps or oversharing

More than three in four seniors also think they understand the dos and don’ts of social media at least reasonably well, while nearly all millennials hold this view. It’s safe to say that seniors aren’t altogether different when it comes to the manners that matter.

Facebook Is The Domain Of Seniors

It might sound surprising, but it’s true. A study from the Pew Research Centre in the US found that young people dominated Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

And while they also use Facebook in higher numbers, older adults are joining in increasing numbers –  up 14% from just one year ago.

With the need to stay connected with friends and family, seniors are signing up in droves, smashing the stereotype of being ‘scared’ of technology.

Interestingly, with more and more seniors joining Facebook, younger people are flocking to platforms like Snapchat to share private or ‘riskier’ posts.

In Australia, research has shown that people aged 65 and over who are on social media almost exclusively use Facebook (88%). Essentially, the way we communicate online is becoming defined by who can and can’t see your posts.

What Are Seniors Using Social Media For?

Like many young people, seniors are using social media for many of the same reasons. According to the Sensis Social Media Report, the top ones include:

  • Catching up with friends and family
  • Sharing photographs and videos
  • Getting information on news and current events

The most popular behaviours for people aged 50 and over for using social media sites are to watch a video or share someone else’s post. On another note, seniors are more likely to post an online review or blog on social media than young people are.

Other research has found that many older Australians are turning to social media to alleviate feelings of loneliness – and it’s working. Instead of fearing technology, they are finding happiness through connecting with loved ones and the community.

Open Your World, One Platform At A Time

You’re never too old to get on board with social media. While it can be a daunting arena to enter, if you take the time to learn, it’s really not that scary. To begin with, simply join up to one platform such as Facebook and see how things go.

When you become more confident, you’ll be posting, tweeting, and snapping all over the place.

You can find much more information on living a holistic lifestyle in these free magazines and on our YouTube channel.

Ben is a freelance journalist and copywriter with a passion for nutrition, fitness, wellness and all the things that keep us healthy, happy and around for a long time. You can follow Ben on Twitter.

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