How Seniors are Using Social Media?
There’s no question that social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives. We’re constantly scrolling through feeds of friends, family members, celebrities, bloggers, and influencers at all times of the day. We’re constantly taking in the images we see on others’ profiles and the words they use to describe them, clicking on links and hashtags that take us down rabbit holes on the internet. Though the majority of social media users seem to be of younger generations, what exactly does the landscape of users look like for people over the age of 65?
According to Pew Research, the percentage of adults 65 years of age or older who use social media has increased from 0% in 2006 to 40% in 2019. Where exactly are these 40% of seniors spending their time? Facebook and YouTube remain the most popular platforms. 46% of active social media users over the age of 65 use Facebook, while 38% of this generation searches YouTube. It seems that seniors are steering clear from Snapchat (3%), Twitter (7%) and Instagram (8%) for the most part.
As older generations continue to embrace technology and online communication methods like social media, we’re recognizing the ways in which social media can positively impact the lives of seniors and residents of senior living communities.
One main reason that seniors are using social media is to keep in touch with their loved ones. It’s easy to hop on their smartphone, tablet, or computer to see what their grandchildren are up to or read about what’s happening nowadays at their alma mater or in their hometown. Social media is a great mechanism to stay connected for any age group.
Another use of social media for seniors can be for entertainment. Seniors can find content that appeals to them: watching how-to videos on YouTube to sharpen up an old hobby, laughing at videos of dogs doing tricks, or even reminiscing about the good ol’ days when a memory appears on their Facebook timelines from a post a year or two ago. Social media platforms are filled with content that seniors could find amusing.
Although the number of senior social media users is increasing from year to year, social media can still seem daunting for most. Some see it as an invasion of privacy or as harmful to seniors if they share too much of their lives on the internet. It’s all in how responsibly you use it, however. Most agree that the connection, joy, and stimulation from social media platforms like facebook outweigh these concerns. As with any other area of our lives, all social media users have to set a reasonable boundary and recognize a certain level of responsibility before posting any content to these communication channels.
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