from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Santa Fe, NM – They may have been a little slower to jump on the online bandwagon, but now more than half of Internet users ages 50-65 use at least one social networking site, along with a third of those over 65. Marsha Collier, author of "Facebook and Twitter for Seniors" (one of the "Dummies" book series) has comments.
They're trying to get connected, although they're not always sure how to do it or why they should. A recent survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project confirms that social media is now part of life for more than half of Internet users ages 50-to-65 - and a third of those over 65. Many seniors say they learned it from their child or grandchild. Marsha Collier says it's best to wade into social networking slowly. Pick one pursuit, such as Facebook or LinkedIn – or even emailing or texting on a mobile phone – and learn that first. And she says younger people can easily help parents or grandparents create a blog.
"All they have to do is go there and click ‘post.’ They can post about their garden; they can post about their children. And you’ll be surprised – even if there’s no response to the blog, it will give them a comfort factor of going onto the computer and typing a journal."
Collier says social networking – and Internet savvy in general – will help older people feel more connected instead of isolated, and that it's a good way to bring generations together when kids or grand-kids can help teach these skills.
Collier says even people who are hesitant to social-network will be more interested when they see all the friends and family members they can connect with.
"Sometimes the easiest thing is helping someone go to Facebook and seeing who of their friends are on Facebook – or people they’ve gone to work with in the past. Because Facebook makes it very accessible; if people have put in where they worked in the past, you can just look up the company and they may see somebody they know."
Collier says seniors may also become more interested in social networking when they realize they can make money selling things on eBay.
"I know for sure that lots of people who are listening have a lot of extra stuff laying around their house. Learn to sell it on eBay! There’s books for seniors on eBay. It’s all out there, it’s a whole new world – and I just don’t want anybody to close the door to it."
The report is at http://pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2011/PIP-SNS-Update-2011.pdf
Richard Alan reporting, email@example.com