Increasingly seniors are turning to social media platforms and there’s nothing too surprising about that. After all, we can hardly imagine our daily routine without checking Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at least three times a day. And while some of us are trying to cut back on the time spent on the Internet, social media for seniors can be a great way to interact with the world.
For the elderly, social media platforms are an easy way to reconnect with long lost friends and relatives. They are also a fun way to learn more about topics of interest, talk to like-minded people and, of course, browse and post pictures of kids and grandkids. Frequent social contact, sharing and friendship keep the older generations happy and their minds sharp, while helping them forget about feeling lonely and isolated.
Speaking of social media for seniors, the prevalent stereotype that people over a certain age can’t grasp technology doesn’t always hold. Wherever there’s a will, there’s also a way, and many seniors have learned to use laptops and other gadgets pretty fast.
It’s safe to say that social networks have revolutionized the way we connect. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter have become an essential part of our everyday lives. And while the elderly are becoming a fast growing demographic on social networks, their younger “counterparts” are not always happy about it.
When it comes to the older generations and social media interaction, it’s not always easy to know what’s proper and what’s not. Of course, this doesn’t apply exclusively to the elderly. Truth be told, people of all ages could learn a thing or two about proper behavior on social media. Social sites are a great place to bond with others, but we have to remain polite and respectful of other people’s opinions and feelings.
Essential tips on social media for seniors
To keep online interaction cool and everyone happy, here are some pointers to help seniors handle the modern challenge of social media etiquette.
Watch what you share
Oversharing on Facebook and other social networks is a concept some of our older family members don’t quite get. Posting too much personal info on your wall is not something you want to do. Detailed explanations of bladder ultrasounds or medical procedures are definitely not welcome. In a sentence, whether it’s health problems or emotional stuff, private issues and personal communication belong in the inbox.
Of course, it is to be expected that older people have less than adequate understanding of social media use and the privacy concerns we may have. This may sometimes result in public posting of family matters we don’t feel like sharing. Our advice – always ask before sharing information about someone else.
Sharing personal information can also prove to be a security risk, making you vulnerable to scams targeting older people, and identity thefts. Not to mention that if you live alone, posting that you’re going on vacation will just let thieves know the coast is clear.
Think twice before posting someone’s photo
Most people are pretty specific when it comes to their photos, especially unflattering ones or photos taken years ago. Chances are your grandkids won’t be too happy to see you post a photo they’d like to keep hidden for eternity.
This especially applies to baby pictures, as some parents are not comfortable with public sharing for safety reasons. Grandparents don’t always understand the danger of posting pictures on the Internet. If you must share photos and videos of grandkids, make sure your profile settings are set to a maximum privacy level.
Tagging someone in an unflattering photo won’t be well received, either. The best thing to do is ask for permission before tagging the person in the photo.
Keep your comments in check
Comments can seem like a great way to interact, but it’s not always advisable to say what you mean. Don’t comment on your grandkids’ physical appearance or criticize their fashion sense and makeup choices. Seniors often misinterpret what their grandkids want to convey with their statuses, which results in funny and sometimes quite awkward comments.
On that note, jumping into conversations of your grandkids with a funny remark is also a no-no. Teenagers are especially sensitive when it comes to their status among their peers and get embarrassed easily. Consequentially, commenting on their posts and statuses can reflect badly on your relationship.
Don’t enter your grandkids’ circles of friends
It’s best not to send friend requests to the friends of your grandkids. They use social networks to share content that is age appropriate for them and often too much for the older generations to handle. Besides, it would definitely be awkward having grandpa as part of their inner circle.
Avoid posting excessive baby photos
Parents and grandparents often break this rule on Facebook, Instagram and other social sites. Starting with the first sonogram, these photos turn into a torrent once the baby is born. Our kids and grandkids are adorable and we love them dearly, but a neverending stream of photos can get tiresome, at least from a follower’s perspective.
Instead of countless photos of your grandchild’s first walk, ice cream or visit to the Zoo, it’s best to pick a few you like best and post those.
Don’t beg for followers
Asking people to follow you on Instagram and liking everything in sight is something that’s best left avoided. Do your best to post creative and unique content, and the followers will come. Like the photos you genuinely find pleasing and don’t expect likes or followers in return. Also, keep in mind that too much activity within a short period of time can get you banned since the platform will mistake the activity for a fake profile generating automatic likes.
Go easy on the hashtags
Hashtags have a legitimate purpose on social media. Instagramers use them to identify messages on a specific topic or categorize pictures. This, in turn, allows users searching for a topic to find related content easily. However, there is this thing called over-hashtagging. It’s absolutely unnecessary to use a bunch of hashtags in a single post without any practical purpose. Hashtags which are irrelevant to the content, such as the names of famous people in your photos, are also unwelcome.
That being said, there is nothing more important than family, and grandparents are among the most important figures in the life of any kid. They are also our biggest fans and loyal supporters.
Fortunately, there are always ways to share all the content we want in the comfort of our own virtual family circle. So if you want to avoid sharing photos publicly and worrying about awkward posts and comments, give Sherish a try. Our convenient all-in-one photo app and online photo album will allow your entire family to constantly stay in touch, as privately as you want to.