Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

Bits & Bytes
Poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Commented

North Carolina

No Age Barriers in Facebook

Social media opens doors, reconnects friends

Social Media in NC

Lenni Gustafson, 71, joined Facebook to socialize with friends far from her home in Durham.  AARP North Carolina is using Facebook and other social media tools to better communicate with members. — D.L. Anderson

Lenni Gustafson joined Facebook in late 2009 to socialize and "opinionize" with friends. The free online service links her to friends, to neighbors who moved away, to entertainment and to new ideas.

See also: Older Americans embrace Facebook.

"It's like being 'in the now' compared to the 'used to be,' " said Gustafson, 71, of Durham. But "as time has gone by, I have found it to be so much more."

Facebook allows members to create a community unrestricted by distance. People can send and accept invitations to become friends with other Facebook members, whether they're around the corner or across the ocean. Friends can share as much — or as little — about their lives, activities, interests, photos and opinions as they want.

Facebook members may choose privacy restrictions so only those they personally "friend" can see posted material, or they can allow access to anyone.

"If you're new to Facebook, start slow, 'friending' only people you know," said AARP social media strategist Patti Shea. "Don't over-share information. For instance, don't list your mother's maiden name or your birth year."

Gustafson said she checks in on Facebook two or three times a day to "make a comment on something I've done that I think other people would be interested in."

She's hardly alone. Although Facebook gained popularity among college students when it was created in 2004, it's rapidly becoming the place older adults find a sense of connection. More than 500 million people are active users, Facebook says.

The Pew Research Center reported last year that the number of people over 65 using Facebook or other social media doubled in one year and increased 88 percent among people ages 50 to 64.

Facebook and other social media "are increasingly a part of the fabric of many people's lives, and the elderly are no exception," said Brian Southwell, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a researcher at RTI International.

Next: Organizations also find value in Facebook. >>

 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Technology
Resources

Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go

 

How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go

 

Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go

Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today

Being Social

Featured
Groups

computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss

 

Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss