Sending a snap. Posting a story. Tweeting. These are all phrases that mean a similar thing—posting a message of some type on a social media platform. But with all the platforms available and what seems like a whole new vocabulary to go with each one, it’s easy to get lost if you’re not familiar with these apps.
Seniors at Park Regency Thornton assisted living community don’t have to stay behind the times, though. If you have a smartphone or tablet and want to get involved in social media, it’s fairly easy to get started. We’ve provided a run down of some top social media platforms older adults might be interested in and what you need to know about each one to get started.
Out of the top social media platforms, this is the one most older adults are most likely to join. The Facebook-user base runs the gamut from teenagers to older retirees, and you’re likely to find people from your school and career years as well as family and current friends on this site.
You can use Facebook on your computer, smartphone or tablet. First, you must go to the website (on a computer) or download the Facebook app (on a mobile device. Then, you create an account. That involves entering some basic information, such as your name and email address. Facebook asks for a lot of different information, but you might want to stick with only the fields that are required to limit how much information you put out online.
When given the option to manage your privacy settings, it’s a good idea to set everything to “just friends.” That way, only people you have friended on Facebook can see what you post.
You can see photos, videos and updates from family and friends. Some people also share links to web pages outside of Facebook. You can also share your own photos, thoughts and links.
When you join Facebook, you also get Facebook Messenger. This lets you send and receive private messages between you and someone else or a group of people. You can also use it to make phone or video calls if you are connected to the internet.
Instagram is another popular social media app for people of all ages. It puts more of an emphasis on pictures and video. Each post that’s made is an image, multiple images, or video accompanied by an optional text caption.
While you can view Instagram and use some of its functionality on a computer, it’s really made to work best on a smartphone or tablet. You must download the Instagram app and create an account. That typically involves creating a username and a short optional bio and uploading a picture of yourself.
You may then want to choose to set your account to private. That means only people who you approve can see your postings. Otherwise, your posts are public.
You can post photos or videos you take with your smartphone or tablet. You can post them in your feed, where they will remain unless you delete them. You can also post them as Stories, which are situated at the top of the screen. These are automatically removed after 24 hours.
As on Facebook, you can send private messages to other Instagram users. You do so right in the Instagram app and don’t need a separate messaging app. You can also easily block users from contacting you or seeing your content, and you won’t see their content anymore either. This can be an important feature if you’re contacted by someone sharing images or information you don’t care for.
Twitter is a fast-paced social media site where the status updates of others can be difficult to keep up with. But it might be a preferred option for seniors with specific interests, as you can easily find Twitter thought leaders and others who are also interested in the same topic.
You can use Twitter on the computer or mobile devices. If you want to use it on a smartphone or tablet, you have to download the Twitter app. Either way, you create an account and add a username and image. You can protect your tweets to reduce how many people can see what you post, but Twitter can be harder to lock down than Instagram and Facebook.
You can share short posts, links and images and see that information from others.
Twitter also has a direct messaging option for more private conversations, often referred to as DMs. Twitter does have a reputation for being fickle, with many fairly mean-spirited arguments and discussions occurring on the platform, so it’s important to be able to ignore this type of thing and not get too involved in it if it stresses you.