Social Media for Seniors
By Dennis Cook (a senior citizen)
For the past 2 years it has been my task to promote the Knysna Motor Show and the Garden Route Motor club through social media channels. At a recent meeting of the organising Committee for the Knysna Motor Show where we were discussing the Facebook campaign results, our Chairman asked those around the table (10 stalwarts) who used Facebook. Apart from Peter (and myself) no one did. Does this matter though? Well, we are about to introduce a new Website for the Club and I have a concern that many of our members may not use the website and get the benefits; and what if it was to be decided not to distribute newsletters (Torque) but only to post them to the website?
There is a good case to encourage the use of the Internet and Social media among Senior citizens (which describes many of our members). Some may say that they are from a generation before the Internet and that they are not familiar with the technology, but this is a cop-out. You probably already use a smartphone and use the most popular messaging and picture sharing app which is WhatsApp? So you are already on the fringes of Social media communication. Maintaining social relationships has been defined as a core element of aging well. With a considerable number of older adults living alone, or apart from their dispersed families, social media provides the possibility to engage in meaningful social contact by joining online social networks and online discussion forums. Further positive consequences have been shown to be overcoming loneliness, relieving stress, and raising feelings of control and self-efficacy.
Senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook as it is a great way to communicate with friends and family who live far away. Although I initially started using social media tools for my business, I now find that it helps to keep up with past and present friends as well as my family which, like many of us, are scattered all over the world. For seniors the use of Facebook and Instagram enables them to keep in touch with long lost friends and relatives, see pictures of grandchildren, and learn more about the interests and causes that mean something to them. But there’s more to social media than Facebook and more to senior citizen use than a few family pictures.
Keeps you in touch. Social media is a remarkable tool for keeping in touch, not only with family, but many are reuniting with school and University friends, army buddies and colleagues from previous occupations. Facebook enables us to view interesting videos, read blog posts, share pictures and have conversations with people who we thought we’d never see again. Grandparents are friends with University-aged grandkids and are keeping up with their accomplishments. Grandparents can go online now and see pictures taken just moments before by their grandchildren, creating a feeling of closeness. To say social media has revolutionized the way families connect is an understatement.
Research and Technical assistance. Seniors are using Google, YouTube and social media tools to learn more about topics that interest them. In some cases, it can lead one to cultivate hobbies and even business ideas. If you are having difficulty tuning your Classic car or carrying out a repair YouTube will be almost certain to have a video showing how to do it. There are any number of car forums where members post, ask and answer questions of those who have similar makes of cars that may help you.
Entertainment. Senior citizens can watch old television shows and movies, as well as find videos and even favourite songs from “back in the day”. They can read eBooks, articles and blog posts, find song lyrics and find out what their favourite entertainers are up to. Did you know that there are literally hundreds of free movies available on YouTube? Petrol heads can watch motor sport from almost any era in the comfort of their homes. People with limited mobility, people living on their own and those who can’t get out and about, as well as they used to, no longer have to feel lonely when they’re home alone.
Share. Senior citizens aren’t merely people who are older. They’re also people who have been in the trenches. They have amazing stories and brilliant ideas. Through social media they can share all that good stuff with others. They network online and offer advices and mentoring to younger people and students and they can start Facebook pages or groups to talk to others of their generation.
Creating a Facebook profile is easy. Just follow these steps:
Go to www.facebook.com/r.php
Enter your name, email or mobile phone number, password, date of birth and gender.
Click “Create an Account”.
To finish creating your account, you will need to confirm your email or mobile phone number, with the code or PIN that they will send you.
Some words of Caution
- Don’t share your personal details on line, such as home address, financial information or even phone number. (you can use Facebook personal messaging if you need to send this info to a friend).
- Be selective with whom you interact.
- Click links to other websites with caution.
- Be warned that an avid use of SocialMedia may lead to an overdose of South African Politics!
- Create Strong Passwords. Use a different password for each of your social media accounts.
The GRMC Facebook page is : www.facebook.com/gardenroutemc
The Club website is to be found at : https://www.grmc.co.za/
Reference : Deb Ng : “Social Media Marketing All in One for Dummies.”