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AARP and Microsoft Help You 'Get Connected' to Social Media

It’s not just your kids’ Facebook anymore. According to a new AARP state survey, older Washingtonians are the fastest growing age group on the popular social networking site. But while connecting with family and grandkids, and reaching out to old friends are at the top of their online agenda, the report also revealed most Washington seniors are worried about online safety in social media.

See Also: AARP Social Media How-to Guides

To help Washington seniors “Get Connected,” AARP and Microsoft recently held a series of free events on social media. Participants learned how to use social media to connect with old friends, make new ones and communicate with the grandkids. They also learned how to participate in online causes and volunteer activities, discussion groups and how to use social media to simply have fun.

Marsha Collier
, author of “Facebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies” gave participants a crash course in the two popular social networking sites. Representatives from Microsoft presented sessions on safer socializing on the internet, video chat, and how to make your computer easier to see, hear and use. “Some people may shy away from new technologies, our members have been clamoring for information on how to log in to the social media world,” said AARP Communications Director Jason Erskine.

But if you missed out on intending in person – no worries. KHQ-TV in Spokane, WA recorded each presentation in full and posted the sessions on their website. You’ll find:

  • “Social Networking and You” from AARP State Director Doug Shadel
  • “Putting Your Face onto Facebook” and “Twitter Time” from Marsha Collier
  • “How to Make Your Computer Easier to See, Hear and Use” with Microsoft’s Gary Moulton
  • “Video Chat” with Microsoft’s Gary Moulton
  • “Safer Socializing on the Internet” with Microsoft’s David Burt
  • “Connecting with AARP Washington” from AARP Outreach Director Cheryl Weber.

Go to KHQ TV’s website to view all the videos.

Also take a moment to check out these three short videos from Microsoft on how to make your computer easier to see, hear and use:

According to AARP’s new report, “The New Social Clicks,” 70% of online Washingtonians age 45+ have at least one social networking account, and more than 50% joined within the last two years. Facebook, LinkedIn and online communities related to hobbies or personal interests are the most popular social networking sites.

Nearly six-in-ten (56%) online Washingtonians age 45+ say they have a Facebook account, and older adults are flocking to the site in increasing numbers. According to the report, respondents age 65+ are the fastest growing age-group in the state joining Facebook. The most common reasons given among all respondents for using Facebook include keeping in touch with friends (86%), extended family members (78%), and to connect with people from their past (67%).

But while older adults are going social in increasing numbers, 84% of survey respondents say they are concerned about online safety. “Social media is a great way to connect with others,” said Erskine, “but there are some simple steps you should take to stay safe.” Microsoft offers a good list of resources and materials in their Safety and Security Center.

The final word on the value of social media is still out though. According to AARP’s survey, two-thirds or respondents say social networking websites are a great way for people to stay in touch, but two-in-five say they are a “waste of time”.

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