Social media 101: A guide for seniors

Posted 8/17/22

Social media has become almost a new way of life. From sharing special moments of births, weddings or graduations, to posting about personal experiences and, for some, starting a business.

Between …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Social media 101: A guide for seniors


Social media has become almost a new way of life. From sharing special moments of births, weddings or graduations, to posting about personal experiences and, for some, starting a business.

Between a million-and-one platforms, social media could be confusing for those entering the game.

So, here’s a guide.

Different social media platforms

To start your adventure into social media, here are the most common platforms and what they entail.

Facebook/Meta—Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform. Facebook has various components: you can share posts, meet and reconnect, video chat with friends and just share your thoughts.

Instagram—Instagram is an app where you can share photos and videos while interacting with your followers via comments, likes and direct messages.

TikTok—TikTok is an app that allows its users to create, share and watch short videos. The app has content that ranges from comedy to showcasing talents to educational videos.

Snapchat—Snapchat is an app only available on mobile devices. It allows its users to send and receive photos and videos that time out after a certain amount of seconds. This app is more popular with youth, but could be a fun way to chat with friends.

Advantages of social media

Social media, though it may seem complex, has benefits for people of all ages, but it also has some age-specific benefits.

The use of social media can cause a reaction in the brain that can strengthen your cognitive capacity. That means it can aid in your brain’s acquisition of knowledge and processing tasks, and it can increase how much information your brain can store, according to

It can also improve one’s self-competence, heightening the relationship with their self-image or perception and self-worth. Social media allows you to share who you are, and for some, that can be empowering.

 Social media can help mental health. For elders, social media connects them with others. When used properly, it can be used to combat loneliness, creating better mental health through a new web of support.

Social media plays a big part in connecting others to groups of people with similar characteristics, habits, likes and so forth. It creates a community.

With apps such as TikTok, YouTube and others, one can gain exposure to new skills. Social media can be a powerful tool for learning, for hobbies, recipes and more. It can also be an excellent place for people with experience, older generations, to share what they know and have learned with the world around them.

The disadvantages

Social media has a million advantages, but as with everything, there is always a downside.

Of course, social media can help people connect with loved ones and friends; however, it can also connect one with potential risk. Social media is used by scammers, identity thieves and abusers to get a hold of sensitive information regarding private documents, account information and banking information.

Due to their friendiness and trustfulness, older generations could be more likely to experience abuse by scammers via social media. To avoid this, keep your accounts private, avoid sharing personal information that could cause harm, and look into the people you follow, along with the links they might share.

Along with personal information comes misinformation. Social media is the place to find “fake news.” Anyone can post anything, and it can be widely believed. Look for additional information on stories that trigger anger or sadness, stories that have been published or reposted.

Social media is a fun way to connect with others, share your life and learn; however, always proceed with some caution!

Victoria Hoffmann is an avid social media user with over 2,000 followers on Instagram and TikTok combined. Find her on Instagram at insta- _victoria_hoffmann_ . On TikTok, she’s at victoriahoffmann_.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here