Some people use Facebook to meet friends and find old ones. Others use the world's largest social network to strengthen relationships they already have.
See also: Facebook keeps families in touch.
However you plan to use it, the first step is getting online, signing up and learning how to harness Facebook to enhance your life. A new book from AARP and Wiley Publishing, Facebook: Tech to Connect, aims to help you do just that. Available now, the book is a soup-to-nuts guide for Facebook newbies and veteran users alike, designed to help everyone maximize his or her time on the site.
Facebook, along with other online services such as Skype and Twitter, can be "a great way for [older people] to keep track of the lives of people who are important to them," said Doug Shadel, AARP Washington state director.
AARP's Facebook: Tech to Connect includes a section on account and privacy settings, explaining how to set up your account so that your online security and information is protected.
"Technology can be really daunting, and I understand that," says Tech to Connect author Marsha Collier. "But the over-50 crowd has the advantage. You've thought things through your whole life. Technology is no different. Start small. Take your time. Connect with one or two of your friends."
People who are unsure about what to post can use social media to see what other people do. Some comment on current events, some publicize their reaction to a sports event, and others use it to solicit practical advice ("Can I substitute baking powder for baking soda in a recipe?").
The use of social media "opens horizons," Collier said. "If you have a hobby, you can find people with the same interests in your immediate area. You can find new places to go, new things to do, new people to meet."
Also of interest: Connecting to kids in the digital age.
AARP's Facebook: Tech to Connect, available in the AARP Bookstore, is one of a new series of AARP Tech to Connect books designed to make personal technology easy to understand for users.