Interestingly, the most rapid growth with regard to Internet and Social Media usage is being driven by people of advancing age. World Wide Worx, the SA research house, recently released studies showing that South African over-60s are fast discovering the benefits of social media.
Between August 2011 and August 2012, the number of over-60s using Facebook grew by 44%. Silver surfers love looking at age-related topics such as healthcare, travel, financial concerns – and another interesting find – online dating. The two most visited social media sites by seniors are Facebook and YouTube. Twitter is another popular site for seniors, mostly because it is quick and has a maximum character limit of 140.
In Beirut, an “Introduction to Social Media” class at the American University of Beirut has become a hot spot for senior citizens. These seniors aged between 51 to 81 are so excited about learning this new media, and are proving that one is never too old to learn social media. One of the main reasons for the interest is that these seniors want to learn social media in an attempt to communicate with children and grandchildren and get in touch with long lost friends and relatives. The course material covers blogging, uploading of photos and checking of privacy settings.
Helen, a 70-year old retiree, may not be quite as technically savvy as her grandson, but still designs online courses for accountants. She has always embraced technology, uses Skype to keep in touch with her children, and is a regular user of Facebook.
Benefits of social media for boomers, seniors and retirees
Communication with family and friends
Social media has revolutionized the way in which families are able to keep in contact, especially in South Africa where many of the younger generation have taken off to greener pastures. And not only keeping in touch with family, seniors have been able to find “old” friends from school and university days. Social networks afford us the opportunity to view videos, read blogs, share photographs and have conversations with folk that we thought we would never see again. Gone is the feeling of isolation.
Social media is invaluable when it comes to researching topics that interest you. One can cultivate hobbies, generate business ideas, learn about new products, work on family trees, investigate health issues etc.
No need to feel alone or bored. You can download e-books, read articles and blogs, play games – by yourself, with family and even with strangers! An ex-book club colleague played international bridge online, and made such good friends with her bridge partners that she went on an overseas trip to meet them! You can watch old movies and TV shows – entertainment all day and all night!
Keep yourself updated and current with the latest local and overseas news.
Share with your friends (and strangers!)
One can share proud moments with friends and family. Share recipes. Share family photos. Create and share videos as well. Most seniors have a wonderful story to tell – you can share your life story through blogging.
Discounts and benefits
Find out about all those discounts and benefits for boomers, seniors and retirees! Check out Groupon and Daddy’s Deals. You can save a fair bit by using social media. And don’t lose sight of You’ve Earned It – you will be the first to know about new YEI discounts and benefits if you have “liked” our FB page. Notification of new YEI discounts and benefits are placed on the YEI Facebook page as and when they become available.
Let your fingers do the walking
No more frustrating yellow pages! Research the product you are looking for, and then email the representatives with all your questions.
The world of work
The ability to conduct online research allows folk of all ages to research job and franchise opportunities, post your CV online, learn how to start a new business, etc. Social media tools allow people to connect and share, answer questions, promote events and sales and more.
Interesting Social Media stats
- If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world. China is the largest country, followed by India.
- The average age of a Facebook user is 53, and senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.
- One in three online seniors use social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
- In one minute, there are:
694 445 search queries on Google
168 million emails sent
695 000 status updates on Facebook
98 000 Tweets published on Twitter
600+ videos uploaded on YouTube.
Do you dabble in social media? We look forward to hearing your views – what you use, and what you use it for…! Or is this not your cup of tea?