50 Times Old People Used Social Media And It Didn’t Go Exactly As It Should Have (New Pics)
At the beginning of the 1990s, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee released the source code for the world's first web browser and editor, which was royalty-free, easy to use, and eventually developed into the internet as we know it today.
Of course, there were people who doubted the longevity of the technology. Not to mention those who already had their lives built around other things and couldn't be bothered by "childish games." But now that their friends and family, including their beloved grandchildren, are all using it, even these folks are creating accounts on social media to connect to them.
While it's quite inspiring that they're trying to tame all the scary hardware and software, some of their attempts result in pure comedy gold. At least by our standards. And the funniest ones can be seen on the Instagram account 'Old People Facebook.'
Not Facebook But It’s Relevant Okay
A lack of in-person interactions is the primary driver for older people to use social media, which differs from how younger people use it to establish and maintain relationships, a study by a researcher at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) found.
The research was the first to apply a uses and gratifications framework to examine Facebook and Instagram use among older populations aged 50-plus, a demographic that has not been well examined in regard to social media use.
Tag Your Grandma
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One reason for the dearth of research on older users is that it’s actually hard to find study participants, said Dr. Pavica Sheldon, a social media researcher and the author of 'Social Media: Principles and Applications' and 'The Dark Side of Social Media.'
"Most social media studies are done on college students because they are an easily accessible demographic due to convenience: they are already sitting in your classes and want extra points for filling out a survey," Dr. Sheldon, a professor of communication arts, explained. "That is true across social science and topics. The problem with these studies is that they are not generalizable."
When Lynn Johnson Ware, a coauthor of the study and a former graduate student in her class, came up with the idea to analyze the way older people use social media, Dr. Sheldon said they looked up past studies and could not find anything about, for example, the way Baby Boomers use Instagram.
"Originally, I was concerned that we would not be able to find enough participants of that age to fill out our survey," she said, but "Lynn recruited a lot of participants through her parents’ social network."
"Most older individuals tend to be later adopters when it comes to social media platforms," Dr. Sheldon said.
"When Facebook was created, only college students had access to it. It took a couple of years for older individuals to start using it. The same is true with Instagram."
But older people are slowly catching up.
I Can’t Wait For Christmas Posts... I Got Some Good Ones Coming
The study divided the older adults into Baby Boomers (age 50-74) and Traditionalists (age 75 plus).
Both groups tended to list diversion and entertainment as the reasons they use Facebook, while social activity, travel, and real-world leisure activities were positive predictors of using Instagram for relationship surveillance, documentation, and self-promotion.
"Our findings showed that socially active Baby Boomers use Instagram to document their stories and to show off. This finding about older individuals using visual media to promote themselves was a little surprising to us," Dr. Sheldon noted.
Overall, however, most Baby Boomers are Facebook users and spend more time there than they do on other social media platforms.
Okay But How Do You Not Talk To Your Dad For That Long?
Among both Boomers and Traditionalists, higher life satisfaction led to less use of Facebook and Instagram to alleviate loneliness and the need for companionship; those who were less satisfied with their lives used Facebook to compensate for the loss.
So whenever you see seniors struggling a bit on social media, don't judge them. They're most likely just trying to connect to someone.
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