Tips & Links for Seniors

TIP #1: Remember that “personal” is not the same as “private”.

With FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and countless blogs, there’s no shortage of social media and online networks. These platforms provide you with your very own personal online space. While interactions through social networks are primarily personal, they are very rarely private! In a lot of cases, written conversations inside these networks can be found through search engines like Google. Even in cases where only your contacts can see what you write, there is the possibility that one of them will forward what you say and make it visible to a wider audience. As a result, personal conversation within social media networks should be considered public rather than private.

TIP #2: Be thoughtful about how you present yourself in online social networks.

What you publish online will be around for a long time, so consider your content carefully and be judicious in disclosing personal details. Be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. A lot of websites allow you some form of control over who can see your material. Familiarize yourself with these privacy controls. And keep in mind: The internet has a very long memory (i.e. what happens in Vegas stays on Google).

How can you learn more about social media?

OASIS offers a range of courses on computers and social media specifically for people age 50+. The courses are paced for optimal learning and are often accompanied by information-rich coursebooks/handouts.(Full Disclosure: I currently work as a consultant for the OASIS Connections program. OASIS Connections establishes community-based computer learning programs for seniors.)

SeniorNet offers computer classes — including social media courses — tailored for people 50+. In addition to their physical learning centers, SeniorNet also has a virtual campus where seniors can learn at their leisure and take classes from the comfort of their home. is a fantastic site that offers step-by-step guides to help you get started on Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and more. Each guide has a video to walk you through the process. Guides also have easy-to-understand written instructions with screen shots.

Common Craft is an excellent resource. Their “In Plain English” videos cover general social media and social networking topics as well as more targeted videos on Twitter, Wikis, and online photo-sharing. The videos deliver high-quality, easily digestible content.

How can I protect my privacy online? published a post all about Facebook privacy settings. The post is very thorough and complete with helpful screenshots. Please note that the post was published earlier this year, and Facebook is notorious for frequent, wide-spread changes. With that said, much of the post continues to contain important, relevant information on privacy settings. also has a post dedicated to Facebook privacy settings. This post contains very useful information ranging from sharing settings to privacy settings related to photos and applications. Again, keep in mind that Facebook changes frequently. Still, the information is useful.


Comments are closed.