Do you want to easily interact with your family and friends residing on the other side of the world? Or see what your kids and grandkids are up to in between get-togethers? You may not be a Millennial but you can still take advantage of the power of social media to connect with your loved ones. The good news is it’s never too late to learn to use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as blogging platforms such as WordPress. Here, a few tips and tools that will make the digital learning curve a little less steep.
1. Go Back to School. The proof is in the numbers: older adults are using the Internet in droves. The Pew Research Center found that Internet use among the 65-plus set increased 150 percent from 2009 to 2011, and their 2012 study found that 34 percent use social media. So it’s no surprise that the number of community centres offering computer and social media courses geared specifically for older adults has increased as well. Enrolling in one isn’t just a great way to learn new skills—it’s also a fabulous opportunity to meet new friends.
2. Enlist the Help of a Friend or Family Member. Whether you want to start a personal blog documenting your gardening projects or share stories and photos of your travels on Instagram, one of the best ways to learn the ins and outs of today’s popular blogging platforms and social media tools are to ask someone who uses them regularly to teach you. Many of these tools are constantly evolving, with new features being added all of the time, so someone who has their finger on the pulse in terms of upgrades will likely be the best source of information.
3. Read Up. That said, there are many websites, books and e-books about social media use and blogging that you can refer to if your personal digital instructor is not available. Blogging for Dummies https://hmt.es/Blogging%20for%20Dummies.pdf covers everything from how to purchase a web domain to establishing your blogger identity. A quick search on YouTube reveals hundreds of videos outlining how to use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, while the online magazine, Mashable, covers more general aspects of the digital world. My Facebook for Seniors (3rd edition) provides full-colour step-by-step instructions for using the popular social media site. https://www.amazon.ca/Facebook-Seniors-3rd-Michael-Miller/dp/0789757923
4. Teach Others. As the saying goes: the best way to learn is to teach! Once you’ve established a solid foundation of social media and/or blogging skills, offer to share your newfound expertise with other older adults. This will not only give them the opportunity to gain new skills, which can be thrilling and excellent for keeping the “mind muscle” sharp, it’s also a chance for you to practice the things you’ve learned.