Social media can ward off the loneliness in a seniors life and allow for a more active and involved life staying in touch with friends and family near and far. In this article you will find some helpful tips on how to setup and manage your online activities. Get yourself a computer, tablet or smartphone and join the million of other seniors connected to the world of social media.
There are many social media platforms to choose from online and the best one depends on what you hope to get out of your social media experience. Most social media sites are free to use but the platforms use your likes and shares and your online shopping and searches as a method to find out what you like and will sell that information to companies. These companies will later target you to purchase their products or services. For instance, you will see things that you’ve been shopping for or viewing online advertised throughout your social media pages. If you click on these ads the social media company earns money. Later in this article I will share ways to secure your accounts.
Which social media platforms will be good for me?
The most commonly used social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and YouTube.
Facebook platform allows you to customize your page and share what you want to share and who you want to see it. You can keep your page private and only viewable to friends and family. Facebook also offers a messenger service that allows you to send and receive instant private messages from friends and family.
Instagram is for sharing images and the app can be used on your smartphone or on your desktop. It is comparable to flipping thru the pages of a magazine.
YouTube is a great place to watch videos on any of your devices. You may enjoy watching videos, movies or want to learn a new skill. You need to create an account to use the features such as like, subscribe and watch later. Some seniors enjoy it so much that they create a channel to share their stories or showcase wisdom and talents.
Goodreads is a site that focuses on books comparable to a virtual reading club where you can socialize with other readers. You will find that they recommend books based on your reading history.
Twitter is a microblogging service. What does that mean? Users can use their devices to send and to read messages called ‘tweets”. Your tweets appear on your profile page and can be viewed and shared by your fans. It’s a great way of promoting events, news releases and points of view.
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How to setup your social media platform
The best way to setup your social media account is to find a trusted friend or relative that already uses social media. You might be surprised how much your grandchildren know about social media accounts and can provide great advice on what to and what not to do online. It can be overwhelming wading through the how to do’s and FAQs. A trusted friend or family member can walk you through the process and answer your questions. You can also check your local library or seniors centers to see if they offer social media classes for seniors.
Security and Privacy Tips
Social media should be enjoyable and not stressful. Remember to not use your full name. It is ok to use your picture. Have a trusted friend or family member help you set your privacy setting. Pick a password that uses the alphabet, numbers and symbols so that it is not easy to guess. Never use the names of your pets or family members as a password. Make sure to change your password every few months.
Keep your password private and never give your password to strangers or others online. When possible turn on the two factor authentication which asks for two types of evidence that its you and not someone trying to gain access to your account. One method of verification is usually a password and the other is a text to your phone or an email sent to your email account.
Tips for socializing on these networks
It is nice to share family photos and stories but make sure you have the permission of friends and family members before sharing on social media. Even when you delete a post it never truly disappears. A good rule to follow is if you don’t want it online forever don’t post it. You may want to change privacy settings on some of your posts so that only family and close friends can view.
Remember not everything you read on social media is factual. Share information carefully as to not spread false information. Also, beware of cyberbullies. If you receive a response to one of your posts and you find it disturbing or threatening it is best not to respond but to report it to the site or service. All platforms can assist with abuse complaints.
Remember to always be selective when adding people to your social network. Sneaky and ill intentioned people create fake profiles. It is advisable to not accept strangers as friends. Social media can be a most enjoyable experience when you are connecting with people you know but it can also be a dangerous place. Connecting with people you don’t know or trust can expose you to a swindler and become a hassle or worse put you in danger.
Roy Thomas SRES® (Senior’s Real Estate Specialist) is a REALTOR® with Sutton Group Professional Realty. Since 1991, Roy specializes in helping retirees with their later in life real estate transactions. Call Roy at 902-497-3031 or contact Roy here