There are more seniors joining Facebook now than in previous years. This is according to a survey completed by the Pew Internet Center last August of 2012. According to Mary Madden, the company’s research associate:
“Thirty-eight percent of adult social media users are over the age of 65. One in 3 online seniors say they use social networking sites.”
Seniors are motivated to join Facebook so that they can connect with friends and family, especially when they live far away from each other.
They will have a harder time learning Facebook, though, says Abby Stokes, an author who wrote the book “Is This Thing On? A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes and the Kicking & Screaming.”
According to Stokes:
“I refer to anybody over the age of 40 as a digital immigrant. You can learn anything but you learn it at a slower pace.”
Stokes adds that seniors are put off by the fact that ‘social networking’ sounds devious. They fear sharing too much online, given that Facebook is a public place.
Senior Facebook users should then be advised about what the site is all about in terms of its basic purposes. Stokes said:
“Knowing that someone’s wall is public or how to send direct messages are important things to explain to a new user. And just because you knew someone 30 years ago doesn’t mean you have to say ‘Yes’ to their friend request. It’s OK to be cautious. I tell seniors they should use the same discrimination they would when letting someone into their home.”