Your Grandma Just Poked You on Facebook, Now What?

I received a phone call a few days ago from a nice man that invited me to speak to a group of senior citizens about the benefits of social media for seniors. From what I’ve heard they’ll be about 40 people, from 70 years old and up to apx. 90 years old. I said yes, without really thinking about it. I’m not getting paid. I said yes, because it felt right.

But then, the minutes after I said yes to the invitation, it felt like my head was spinning. I was seeing old people using iPads everywhere, and I was thinking… what on earth am I going to talk about?

Now, I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter who invites me to speak, I still need to speak from my perspective on things, and use the examples that I enjoy using (yes, I’ll always add a few examples related to pizza). But, I am not going to be very detailed or technical during the presentation, some of the people might not know anything about social media.

The thing is, I’m going to use this blog post to have a conversation with you about what I’m going to be speaking about. It will be sort of a short brainstorming session for me, and at the same time I’m reaching out for some help. And, maybe together, we’ll manage to turn this blog post into a fairly good resource for the benefits of social media for senior citizens.

I’ll probably write an update about what happened sometime next week. Who knows, maybe they all have iPads, and they’re tweeting instead of paying attention to me?

Defining social media

I should probably start out by explaining what social media is, and that it’s all about people sharing and having conversations online etc.. and maybe add some names like Facebook and Twitter, names that they might have heard before.

Some unbelievable stats

I have found some statistics that are close to unbelievable, and in order to explain the impact of social media to people and society, I might show them the numbers.

What happens in Social Media in 60 Seconds?

  • Google: 694.445 search queries
  • Email: 168 million emails are sent
  • Facebook: 695.000 status updates, 510.040 comments
  • Twitter: 98.000 tweets published
  • YouTube: 600+ videos are uploaded (25+ hours)

Interesting fact: If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world, after China and India. More than 800 million users, it’s more than twice the size of the US. Facebook accounts for 40% of daily web traffic of all internet users worldwide.

Close to 2,5 million Norwegians are using Facebook, and that’s more than 50% of all Norwegians. That’s just amazing.

I’m not sure how much statistics I’m going to use, because that’s probably just going to be confusing. My point is, a lot of people are using social media, all across the globe.

6 benefits to seniors using social media

I believe it’s important to start as soon as possible to talk about the essense of why I was invited, and that’s to explain the benefits of using social media.

So far, I’ve thought about six fairly different reasons why senior citizens should be using social media.

1. Keep in touch

A lot of senior citizens have a feeling of isolation. I don’t have any stats supporting my claims, but I have read this again and again during the years. By using social media, it’s a lot easier to keep in touch with friends and family, and it’s actually fairly easy to get new friends as well. I have heard about a lot of people who are using Skype to have video conversations with their grand children.

2. Research

I use Twitter for research all the time, especially when it comes to statistics. I find the best infographics via Twitter. If you love gardening (or whatever), I can’t think of a better place to find new tips than via social media (for instance by using YouTube). If you get sick, or experience any type of health issue, you can learn a lot by using social media.

3. Entertainment

When I get old, I’m going to spend a lot of time watching movies and eating pizza. I’m not going to sleep at all, and I’ll probably just sit in bed watch movies all day and all night with pizza and potato chips all over the bed. My wife won’t be happy, but by using social media I can find entertainment all day and all night. Just look at what just happened with Spotify and Facebook, now I get notifitations whenever one of my friends is listening to a song.

4. Share

I love to share, and I believe that most people love to share whatever they are occupied with. Some loves to knit socks, and they love to talk about it, and they love to share recipes. Oh, and family photos, I see that all the time on Facebook. As a senior citizen, you can share your proud moments as a grandma with your friends. It’s getting easier and easier to share photos and to create and share videos as well.

5. News

It’s time we realize that newspapers are going to be different and online. When we think about news, it’s something that’s updated and when we read it, it’s the latest news, and not yesterdays news. Social media is perfect when it comes to news. It can be news from other countries, or local news.

6. Discounts and quality shopping

I have saved the best for last. All the senior citizens I know (I probably shouldn’t say all) are getting very excited every time they can save a penny. When you’re using social media, you’ll find the best discounts from all across the world. It’s getting easier to save money and do some quality shopping (find user reviews). I can add examples as Groupon and Yelp.

Do you have any more ideas about what type of benefits social media can have for senior citizens? Please let me know.

Examples of useful services

I want to add some examples of services that I believe are useful for senior citizens. And right now, I have added three services that I want to mention (I only have 30 minutes for the entire presentation).

Location based social networking

There are services like Facebook Places, Google Places, GoWalla and Foursquare that lets you tell people where you are, and where you have been, and rate different places. If you want company, and you want to be found, it’s very easy with social media.

Discover something new in your niche

I love music, and by using Spotify I discover new music all the time. It’s based upon lists that other people are sharing, and how I am using Spotify. There are social media sites for any niche, and by using them you’ll discover new things. I love to run, and recently I discovered daily mile, where I can connect with other runners and share everything about my running.

The new thing you want to discover might be related to dating. What about stache passions? It’s a social networking and online dating site specifically for singles with a passion for the Stache.

Shopping based social networking

I haven’t used Groupon yet, but I understand its power. When a lot of people group together to buy something, it will be a lot cheaper, and that should be very interesting for senior citizens. But, there are other services that they should consider as well. Blippy is a service where you can see what your friends are buying, or maybe even become friends with people who are buying the same stuff as you are? The same goes for Loopt and Yelp. There are so many services and so little time.

Social Media sites for Seniors

I should also probably mention some of the social media sites that have been created and are targeting senior citizens, and that servies like:

There are probably a lot more sites, but that’s the ones I have found so far.

Your turn

It’s just a question of time before your grandma pokes you on Facebook. When she does, please poke back. Make her proud. But, let me ask you this, do you see any benefits (other than what I have added) for why senior citizens should use social media?

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