Facebook: Why and How Seniors Should Log On

August 12, 2014

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If you’re looking for a reason to use Facebook, consider a report from All Assisted Living Homes about why seniors are logging on to the social media site:

  • 40 percent connect with family and friends.
  • 30 percent share photos.
  • 20 percent participate in social gaming.
  • 10 percent participate in contests and games.

When it comes to the primary reason for using Facebook (dubbed “FB” by many of its users), seniors aren’t much different than their younger counterparts. Connectivity – whether with family and friends or strangers – is something that we all seek. In fact, Forrester Research reported in 2012 that 49 percent of people ages 65 and older have Facebook accounts.

Or, as The Washington Post reported in December 2013: “This is not your father’s Facebook. It’s your grandfather’s.” Facebook’s strongest growth from 2012 to 2013, said The Post, “came from users over age 65.”

How to create and use a Facebook account

Now that you have some perspective about your contemporaries and their use of Facebook, consider creating your own account (it’s free, by the way). Facebook works on PC/Windows-based computers and Macs. Whether your PC or Mac is a desktop or a laptop, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Go to www.facebook.com.
  • In the signup form, type in your name, birthday, gender and email address.
  • Pick a password.
  • Click Sign Up.

After you complete the signup form, Facebook will send an email to the address you provided. To complete the signup process, click the confirmation link.

You can also access Facebook on your tablet, a mobile phone or a smartphone. Instructions for signing up when using these devices can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/help/188157731232424/list.

Links to instructional resources

As you might expect, Facebook provides lots of tutorials. You can get help with everything from creating an app on Facebook to adding or changing your profile picture.

You can also get help setting up Facebook by watching tutorials on YouTube (a free video-sharing site) such as this one.

Competition for Facebook

Although it may seem to be the only site of its kind, Facebook does have competition. According to toptensocialmedia.com, Google+ is considered to be Facebook’s main rival. The world’s second-largest social networking platform, Google+ is a free, invite-only site that lets you find friends and family, share videos, post pictures and make comments. To use Google+, you’ll need to create a free Gmail account.

Perhaps the best thing about Google+ is that you can include different groups of family and friends (they’re called “circles”) and communicate with all of them separately.

For more sites similar to Facebook, type “websites like Facebook” into your search engine’s search box.

It’s never too late to develop a little social media savvy. Facebook is one of the most popular ways to create a digital connection with the friends and family members who matter most to you.

For more information on ways to stay active in retirement, download our free guide, 5 Ways to Stay Active in Retirement.

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