I am getting sick of articles that focus on Millennials. It seems like they are the only generation anyone cares about anymore. You can read about them all day long, learning how to market to and engage with them on social media.
But what about the older generation?
You remember them. Your parents, grandparents (even me). No one’s helping them out so I thought I would chime in. And according to Inc. Magazine, seniors are the ones to watch.
“While the percentage of adults who use social media has steadily climbed across all age brackets since , it’s the recent advance of senior citizen that may be most striking, writes Kimberly Weisul. “[In 2015], 35 percent of those 65 and older say they’re active on social media, compared to only 19 percent in 2012.”
There are many reasons why seniors are moving online for social activity. The three most common reasons include meeting like-minded people, gaining knowledge, and sharing information. Regardless of the reason, it is clear and more and more are going online and venturing into social media.
According to the data from Inc., the Internet is being used more and more by seniors. Now that more and more seniors are venturing into social media, I thought I would highlight five websites that are leading the way for them.
Buzz50 is a great place for seniors to get started on social media. It’s not necessarily a social network in the traditional sense, but a site that combines chat rooms and forums for seniors. The site layout is easy to understand and looks like Yahoo in its infancy. According to the website, Buzz50 is open to everyone but focuses particularly on those 50 and over. It claims to be the “friendliest” social network for seniors and has members primarily in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK.
I would refer people to Buzz50 first as it gives them the best of all worlds – social media, chat rooms, and forums. After using Buzz50, seniors will be more familiar with the different features of the larger social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Here’s another kick…it’s actually run by seniors. The site owners Mike and Mila can be readily found in the Buzz50 chat rooms.
I recently wrote about TechBoomers in Tech Cocktail. It was my own experience of trying to teach my dad how to surf the Internet of his iPad that led me to the site. It has over 1,000 tutorials and videos that teach you how to use more than 75 websites and mobile applications. There is no charge to use the site and it is set up especially for those not used to looking at tiny screens (larger fonts, drop down menus, etc.).
I list TechBoomers here because it not only teaches you how to use a website, but also how to leave a website. Many of us fail to realize that there could be a privacy issue if we leave accounts active, despite no longer using them. TechBoomers shows you how to close accounts and delete user profiles which is something that everyone, not just seniors, need to learn.
Being old doesn’t mean you give up dating. A recent study by Pew Research showed that the largest increase in online dating was with people under the age of 25, accompanied by users in the late 50s and early 60s. While most people under 25 know their way around the Internet, Stitch steps in to take care of the other age group.
Stitch is the social website for those 50 years or older. It hosts member group events tailored for seniors, including wine tasting and trivia nights. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Stitch has more “member-driven group activities and group travel to get people offline and meeting face to face.” Of course there is always Tinder, but Stitch is more like a meet-up than a dating website. And for the less tech-savvy user, Stitch offers telephone support. You remember telephones…that feature available on your “pocket computer.”
SeniorNet is not a social network nor is it a how-to site that shows seniors how to surf the web. In fact, it takes the “online” out of “online help.” SeniorNet is a nonprofit organization that supports actual brick and mortar learning centers across the United States. Kind of makes sense since it can be counterproductive to ask someone to go online to get help for going online. So, for those who have absolutely no experience with technology, finding a SeniorNet center would be the route to take.
SeniorNet has learning centers in 30 states. They not only train, but provide the technology for people wanting to learn. This means that seniors can go to a center and learn how to browse without having to fork out the dough for a computer or Internet access. The good news about SeniorNet is that once someone gets caught up with how to use a computer (e.g., iPad, laptop), they can then move on to the exciting things such as Buzz50 or Stitch. And hats off to the organization as they also assist veterans, disabled, and the under-served.
Are there others out there I didn’t list? I would love to hear about them in the comments!