“Add Me on Facebook”, wait, “I don’t know how!” Familiarizing Facebook and Technology Among Older Adults

In todays world many people are using different types of social media to communicate, adults as old as 90 + and generations as young as 5 years old. They are using social media as an outlet to share information and communicate with family and friends who don’t live near them. For those generations who are familiar with current technology and how to use it, it is easy and simple for them to use, they were able to adapt and catch on rather quickly (Chiu et al.). However, for the middle to older generations of older adults, it is a bit trickier to learn how to navigate and access all the amenities these social media outlets are capable of (Chiu et al.). In learning and being apart of all these social media aspects, Facebook and Pinterest are two HUGE contributors for many reasons both similar and bit different. For example Facebook has 149.4 million users, in a population of 323.95 million in the United States, that’s huge (Writer)! The average age of Facebook users were about 40 years of age (Writer), the age when many families are in peak times of watching their children grow, play sports, and create educational accomplishments. Many older adults who have become grandparents now, love to watch their children become parents and grandchildren, however often miss out on those extra pictures that are so simple to upload and view on Facebook. Which is similar to another app that is called Pinterest, Pinterest is filled with thousands of ideas and projects ranging from women’s health and wellness, to garden projects and recipes. On Pinterest you are able to save these ideas to “your board” to visit later and find step-by-step directions to complete it on your own. Many adults get ideas for what to bring to a family BBQ, adorable clothes and costumes for younger children, and it is all through technology. We know our older adults love to help and continue their practice and hobbies of certain things, so it is time we familiarize them with the apps and social media aspects, so they can continue to be and act as young as they feel.

 

In furthering the use and ability of older adults and navigating through the social media sites came along with their desire and motivation to due so, that was concluded in the study conducted in Taiwan. A controlled group of older adults went through an eight week training program on using touch screen technology, apps, and social media websites, at the conclusion of the eight weeks, studies showed that those who were more interested and motivated performed better and learned more during those weeks, as well as were able to further relate it their everyday functioning (Chiu et al.). In doing so, through my conclusion stated above, if we can get more older adults excited and ready to use these social media sites and updated technology, they can see the benefits in one, learning how to use the technology through our guided help and training, and then be able to turn it into part of their everyday living, just like sharing their business through technology! As we encourage our older adults in using our technology we want to make sure they feel comfortable and do not feel as though it is a type of social pressure to be joining in, which is what Michael Braun conducted his study on. Michael was able to go into further detail on why getting the older adults to feel more comfortable initially with technology use and the use of Facebook is critical to their experience with using social media and social networking sites (Braun).

In introducing and helping facilitate the older adults into Facebook and Pinterest, some common concerns could be factors that would eliminate the confidentiality and comfort for the older adults. When signing up for Facebook and Pinterest much like any other social media sites, it often asks for more information that many feel uncomfortable giving, such as date of birth, phone number, address, and other items that many would not think is necessary for signing up for. As younger generations would feel more comfortable giving this information since they have done so for quite some times, it does have the older adults feeling a bit more insecure and worrisome about giving that information as they have not done so before (Chiu et al.). However, by talking through the older adults on why the social networks needs this information could be the first step in closing the digital divide and getting older adults more comfortable on Facebook and Pinterest. By closing the digital divide it will help close the gap of older generations and younger generations communicating and using technology by allowing the older generation to adapt and use the technology and social media sites to communicate just as the younger generations. This will work to the older adults advantage because they can be more involved and interactive with their families and grandchildren via Facebook. They will be able to learn more about what their families are doing throughout the day based off of their posts, pictures and videos. Not only will the older adults be able to learn more about their family and visualize what they are doing based off their pictures, they will be able to do the same as well. They can share about their day, and activities, as well as posts picture themselves (Braun). It has also been found that by being involved in these social media sites can encourage brain stimulation within older adults, in doing so cognitively, it works to change and improve their moods, attitudes, and willingness to work with these different social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest (Braun).

Facebook is more than simply sharing posts, and pictures of what you and your family may be doing during the days, rather it gives users a chance reach a broader audience if they are trying to market their product that they are selling. Such as, home goods and crafts, clothing, and even some business have taken to Facebook for marketing and advertising. There are so many different avenues that the older adults can be using while on Facebook, and by sharing that it could very well encourage them and reach a different group of older adults to whom that may appear more with rather then viewing family news. By the older adults using Facebook for such avenues as marketing it can also encourage them to continue doing what they love such as, knitting, making candles, and making jewelry, and be able to share their creations and potentially even sell them if they wanted to. This would allow the older adults to be further involved in the growing social media community that is taking place today, and into the growing social culture and media that generations of all ages are involved in. After the older adults feel they have a grasp on Facebook they can then turn to other social media websites with both the same and different purposes of exploring and learning about new things and what others around them may be doing. An example that fits hand in hand it Pinterest, Pinterest allows its users to browse different categories and save others ideas, to simply replicate and try on their own. This can play into the older adults who are using Facebook to market their products or share their creations, they can get new inspirations for their jewelry making, knitting, and different candle scents and steps to make all those things. It encourages them to try new steps, new ideas, and apply them, then by transferring those over to Facebook and being able to share their creations and what they have done with their community of friends on Facebook, and completely partake in the current process that has been happening all over the nation and generations of sharing their news and creations across different social media aspects (Braun). The older adults will be able to have been completely involved in the social media light, and be a contributing factor of closing the digital divide as well (Braun). In assuring that this is an idea that can continue to happen and partake, we as community members need to be aware and willing to help those older adults around us and sharing the fun and joy of social media, as well as the benefits that can occur not only for ourselves teaching them, but for themselves as well. It takes a full circle of dedicated members to be inclusive and work together for all generations to come together to work together and be engaged together furthers more in social media and technology avenues.

 

 

References

 

Braun, M. T. (2013). Obstacles to social networking website use among older adults. Computers

in Human Behavior .

Chiu, C. J., Hu, Y. H., Lin, D. C., Chang, F. Y., Chang, C. S., & Lai, C. F. (2016). The attitudes,

impact, and learning needs of older adults using apps on touchscreen mobile devices: Results from a pilot study. Computers in Human Behavior .

Jones, D. C. (2014, October 28). Use it or Lose It: Why Brain Stimulation is So Important for

Older Adults. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from http://www.empowher.com/dementia/content/use-it-or-lose-it-why-brain-stimulation-so-important-older-adults

U.S. and World Population Clock Tell us what you think. (n.d.). Retrieved April 24, 2017, from

https://www.census.gov/popclock/

Writer, L. G. (2013, March 21). What Is the Breakdown of Facebook Users by Age? Retrieved

April 24, 2017, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/breakdown-facebook-users-age-63280.html

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