Life & Lifestyle

Social Media and Seniors

It isn’t all sink or swim

Many seniors in my circle hesitate to plunge into the social media waters. Like hikers discovering a new swimming hole, many wander around the edge, wondering how far they can venture into the water before they drop off into something deeper than they can handle. A few swim out a few yards and expand their comfort zone; of course, one or two bold ones dive in and swim across the width of the pond.

Just like these adventurers, your exploration of social media should be at your own pace. Developing a knowledge of what to expect and sharing the experience of others will equip you for an enjoyable venture.

Popular social media platforms
Popular social media platforms

Tips to Help Seniors Navigate the 7 Top Social Media Platforms

1. Facebook

People 50+ make up over a third of this platform’s two billion monthly users, and it is probably the most popular platform among seniors. Its interface is easy to use and a great way to connect with friends and families. Posting pictures, writing updates, and sharing memories and ideas help build a community willing to share and grow. In addition to generating your own gathering place, you can discover hundreds of clubs and organizations that use Facebook to share common interests like gardening, travel, and hobbies. Many also offer forums and often livestream speakers and learning sessions.

2. LinkedIn

Many of my friends still work. A few retired and went into other professions. Some discovered a passion for extending their skills to nonprofits needing those with knowledge and a willingness to share. LinkedIn provides an excellent platform for seniors who are:

  • Transitioning careers
  • Seeking new job opportunities
  • Looking to expand their professional network

LinkedIn emphasizes business connections and professional growth and is the perfect place to showcase skills and experience. You can find kindred spirits in your profession, industry trends, discussions, and learning programs.

3. YouTube

I probably use YouTube as much as I do Google or any search engine to find stuff. Seniors may not find a need to post their videos and create content for others to watch. Still, endless movies, TV shows, tutorials, documentaries, DYI, FYI, entertaining, and educational content exist. You can subscribe to channels you like and create playlists for free, which allows you to organize and follow your specific interests.

4. X, Formerly Twitter

Politics and sports. That is what my colleagues use X, formerly Twitter, for. They love to issue feedback and commentary on just about anything and everything that comes along in their feed. They customize their feed to stay informed on breaking news, favorite teams, entertainers, hobbies, food trends, and more. And even better, posts are short, and you can scroll through tweets faster than you can flip the channel changer on the TV remote.

 5. Pinterest

Love it! If you are into a specific subject, there is a Pinterest person out there with a board for you to view. Pinterest is a giant scrapbook or collector’s den where users create their own boards, posts, and link images of their passion. It is easy to start your own board and even easier to search for other users and groups who share your interests. It is an excellent source for DIY projects, recipes, gardening tips, craft ideas, fashion trends, pet pics, and more.

6. Instagram

Yes, younger users dominate Instagram, but it is so rich in content that the possible generation gap should not push you away. If you enjoy photography and storytelling, this is the place to spend a few minutes… which will turn into hours before you know it. It is also a platform that connects many families: kids, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents share not only current snapshots and videos from their smartphones but also pics from scrapbooks and old photo albums.

 7. TikTok

Don’t knock it unless you try it. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Test the waters of social media. You might wade, swan dive, belly flop, dog paddle, or backstroke while in there, but it is so worth getting a little wet.


Broc Sears

Broc Sears is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and also works with the Texas Center for Community Journalism. He has more than three decades of experience in the news, advertising and marketing industries and earned recognition from the Society for News Design, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, APME of Texas and the Dallas Press Club. He and his wife enjoy the best days of their lives here in Dallas with their family.

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