According to 2017 Pew Research Center data, about a third of seniors over 65 use social media. Among seniors with a college education, that figure is 56%.
Seniors report that social media helps them stay in touch with their family, learn about news in their community, communicate more effectively with loved ones, and reach out to people from their past. Many young people rely solely or primarily on social media to communicate about their lives, so seniors may have better luck chatting with grandchildren and children through social media than through more traditional methods.
With so many options, which social media platforms are best for seniors? Here are our picks.
Facebook remains the most popular social media site, despite evidence that teens are beginning to abandon the social media giant. Seventy-nine percent of adults who use the Internet use Facebook, according to Pew Research Center data. If you want to use social media to stay in touch with loved ones, Facebook offers you access to the most people.
Facebook is also highly customizable. You can choose what to share and with whom to share it, set up custom friend groups, and easily control what you see and when you see it. Whether you want to follow the news or just your grandchildren, there’s something for most seniors on Facebook.
While on Facebook, check out Senior Living LIVE. New episodes every Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST.
Skype offers video chat that makes it easy to talk to people you love, whether they’re across the globe or across the street. You can also make Skype calls from your phone, and there’s a Skype platform for most operating systems. If you don’t like Skype, try one of the other Skype-like services, such as FaceTime or Google Hangouts.
ThirdAGE is a comprehensive social media platform targeted to Baby Boomer women. With a strong emphasis on wellness and self-care, it’s an ideal place to get health information and connect with others who are committed to a lifetime of wellness. Users can publish their own content, or view one of hundreds of videos or thousands of articles.
AARP has long been the go-to source for all things retirement-related. From investment advice to relationship tips, AARP’s magazine and other publications are staples in many seniors’ homes. AARP’s website builds upon this platform, offering thousands of articles and numerous ways to connect with other seniors. AARP also boasts an active Facebook presence, allowing users to ask questions and engage with other readers.
Social media makes it easy to share your thoughts with the world and get rapid feedback. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at writing, consider starting a blog. Blogger is one of the easiest platforms for starting a blog. It features easy templates to customize your blog and an interface that looks similar to a word processor. You don’t have to master coding or become a computer expert. You need only know how to type.
Blogger is owned by Google, which makes it easy to connect your Blogger page to other Google accounts you use, including Google+. Google+ is Google’s social media platform. It never gained the following of Facebook, but it is a good way to promote Blogger posts.
If you’re ready to get back into the dating game, OurTime is a great way to dip your toe into the water. It caters exclusively to people 50 and over, which means your pool of potential dates will likely have values and a lifestyle substantially similar to your own.
If you don’t like OurTime, try one of these senior-friendly dating sites:
Want a social media platform that caters exclusively to people of your generation? MyBoomerPlace makes it easy to start your own social media page, and even easier to meet like-minded seniors. With plenty of profile customization options, it’s a great way to test out social media if Facebook feels too daunting.
Social Media 101
Social media is perfectly safe—if you use it safely. Remember to treat the people you meet on social media like you would any other stranger. Know that people can pretend to be someone they’re not, and never send money or personal information to strangers over the Internet. If you want to learn more about social media, consider visiting your local library or senior center. Many now offer social media classes for seniors like you—just one more way to meet people!