Facebook and Instagram: Not Just for Adolescents by Jon Comiskey

The first product I chose is Instagram. It is an app that can be downloaded from the app store on any device. It also has a web version but It not very good. It is useful for me for a few reasons. First, it is the most predominant social media used among people in my age group. It helps me stay connected and know what is going on with my friends who I do not get to see often. The second wat it is useful is in a business since. My and my friends run an Instagram page that has enough followers so we are able to get sponsored be companies and sell merchandise for a profit.

In order to use Instagram, you must first download the free app. Once this is done it will prompt you to create an account using your email and a user name you create. You then add a profile picture and are all good to go. Once you are set up you can search for your friends to follow or famous people and businesses. In order to share you post pictures with a short caption that people who follow you will see.

The second product I chose is Facebook. It is an app that can be downloaded from the app store on any device or accessed on anything that has the internet. It is useful for the older generations but does not have much of a place in children 17 and younger. There is many business, famous people, and other fan pages on Facebook you can follow. You can also search for your friends and be “Facebook friends” with them. It is similar to Instagram but there is more information on Facebook such as; age, birthday, what you like and dislike, who is in your family, who you are dating, and many more things.

In order to use Facebook, you need to either download the app or go the website. From there it will prompt you to enter your information including name, email, birthday ect. Once this is done you are ready to search for your friends and “friend request” them.

These products differ in a few main ways. First, Facebook has much more information about the user on it than Instagram does. You can learn way more logistics about a person from their Facebook than from their Instagram. Second, Instagram is new and Facebook is old. The younger generations almost exclusively use Instagram for their social media needs while the older generation uses Facebook almost exclusively. The third difference is that on Facebook you have to be friends with a famous person to see their posts but on Instagram anybody can follow and see posts of famous people.

Facebook has many uses that could greatly benefit a senior citizen. While it may be marketed toward adolescents and young adults, the benefits can easily extend to older populations. Facebook can benefit senior citizens by; helping combat social isolation, helping form stronger connections with younger family members, and by helping them stay connected to events happening in their area.

Senior citizens often have less mobility than they did at other points in their lives. Due to this, they often feel isolated from their social lives. Seniors limitations in transportation and mobility can often keep them from having social lives they need in order to not feel lonely and isolated. Facebook can help them combat this. It gives seniors the ability to connect with friends and family members while in the comfort and accessibility of their homes. Facebook also allows older adults to connect with younger family members. Younger generations are much more active on Facebook than older generations. If a grandchild’s grandparents were on Facebook it would give the grandparents the chance to stay up to date with their grandchildren’s life’s. Facebook also has the ability to inform people on events happening in their area. This can be a great way for seniors to learn about community events that other people may learn about through flyers or posters placed around town. Facebook can be very beneficial for senior citizens combatting social isolation and loneliness, however, seniors are on social media less than other age cohorts and often are not as proficient on technology use as younger cohorts of people.

Instagram can also be extremely helpful for the overall well-being of older adults. It is the main form of social media that is used by current adolescents and emerging adults. With today’s social media focused society, it is used for much more than just social connection. Instagram is also a source of current events, news and trends as well as a platform for business to reach its current, new, and potential customers. If an older adult has limited mobility Instagram can be a great way for them to keep up with the trends of society. Society’s current trends are very hard to keep up with especially if you have limited mobility and cannot go out into society often.

The study “Does social network site use buffer against well-being loss when older adults face reduced functional ability” by Rains, Wright & Van Ingen looks into the effects social media has on older adults as well as their level of proficiency in using social media as well as the internet. They found that among older adults in the Netherlands only 26% used social network sites compared to 86% of adolescents at the age of 16, the study also found that older adults were “lagging behind considerably” in internet related matters (Rains, Wright & Van Ingen, 2016). These findings pose as a large obstacle for senior citizens looking to find a solution to their social isolation, if they cannot become consistent and proficient users of social media, they cannot benefit from it.

The study “Technology to Reduce Social Isolation and Loneliness” by Beacker et al., gives a solution to help senior citizens be more proficient on social media and thus fights social isolations and loneliness. Beacker et al., set out to find technology that can make technology more senior citizen friendly. They created a product called “In Touch” that made a tablet much easier for a senior citizen to use. “In Touch” takes over as the home screen of a tables and has easy to access and use functions such as; messaging (text, voice, picture and video) between family members and other contacts that have been pre added, the ability to save and review important or meaningful messages as you would with a letter, and the ability to attach a message to a picture for future viewing (Beacker et al., 2014).

The use of social media, specifically Facebook and Instagram can greatly benefit a senior citizens overall well-being and social life. These sites can help senior citizens stay connected to their friends, family, pop culture and community events even when their mobility may not allow them too. The problem is that many people in this cohort are not proficient in using the social media sites. Without proficient use, senior citizens will not be able to access the benefits social media sites can give. That is why sites and applications such as “In Touch” are so important. With the continued development in these apps more and more seniors will be able to become proficient in social media use and through that proficiency be able to benefit greatly. Social media can and will improve overall social well-being for senior citizens if they become proficient in its use.

References

Beacker, R., Sellen, K., Crosskey, S., Boscart, V., & Neves, B. B. (2014). Technology to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility – ASSETS ’14. doi:10.1145/2661334.2661375

Ingen, E. V., Rains, S. A., & Wright, K. B. (2017). Does social network site use buffer against well-being loss when older adults face reduced functional ability? Computers in Human Behavior,70, 168-177. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.058

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