Many people our age think that social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are catered especially to the younger generation. This is the reason why a lot of people well in their 50s never had a smidgeon of interest in joining these social networking sites. In the previous years, that has been the case; most of the members of these sites are in their 20s or younger in change. But times have changed, as we can now find so many people of various ages using these networking sites.
And yes, senior citizens are also now signing up for them. In fact, my wife and I have our own accounts in these websites, much to the dismay of our kids and grandchildren as I love posting our old photos, even the embarrassing ones.
Benefits of Social Media for Older People
In my opinion, the use of social media offers plenty of benefits to everyone, even to us seniors.
First and probably the most important benefit of it is that social media allows us to easily make a connection to other people no matter where we are. We use them at home to chat with our children and see the different milestones of our grandchildren even if they live quite a distance from us. I even found some of my old friends from Uni that I have since lost touch with and we have even got around to meet up for a pint several times since. Some have even used it to trace other family members whom they have never known. There are plenty of documented cases of these people finding their long-lost relatives primarily through Facebook and other similar sites.
Another thing I like most about social media is that it keeps me updated with what is happening throughout the world. Now, I no longer have to wait for tomorrow’s paper to know what is happening around the world at this time. With social media, I get news updates in real time so I know if I should use alternate routes when the roads are closed or when there are bus and tube strikes as I go to different places.
I also use social media to promote my business, Seniorpreneur. By sharing my links on different social media accounts, I let people know about the new articles and other updates on my website. In fact, most of my friends and relatives found out about my business through that method. Social media also allows me to participate in discourse regarding my business and get feedback, both positive and negative, which allows me to make adjustments and improvements.
Social media can also be used to change someone’s life for the better, especially for those who long to find someone they can relate with. You probably have heard about people successfully finding love online and these stories have prompted different people looking for their own significant others to join these websites, particularly different online dating sites. Nobody is too old for love so even if you are in your 50s and still hoping to settle down with someone, you can use social media to find that someone who will make your life feel complete. You shouldn’t be conscious about your age or think that you are too old for that kind of thing because if you look around, you will see plenty of people of the same ages as ours that are also members of those sites. Don’t believe me? Remember the series entitled “Last Tango in Halifax” in BBC One? I admire the fact that the programme treated ‘older people’ using social media as quite normal. These things do happen more than we thought possible.
So is social networking the key to ageing well?
While mass media often highlights the use of social media in relation to some negative issues, such as harassment and bullying, racism, and in extreme cases, even terrorist activities, we should all remember that this is not the main purpose of social media. From the word itself, social media aims to connect people with each other and it is up to each and every one of us to use it responsibly. Don’t let these negative issues deter you from joining different social networking sites if your primary aim is to connect to people. Social media, when used properly, is beneficial to every one, even us who are well over 50.
Like many people around my age we are redefining what retirement is all about. Our generation is not satisfied with just sitting around waiting for time to pass. We’re breaking the rules and making our latter years mean something.
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