After reading Rachel’s post, http://mylifeinmedia.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/a-concerned-big-sister/, which chronicled her shock and disbelief when she learned that her baby sister had recently gotten a Twitter account, I really want to reflect on the subject myself.
My little brother is fifteen, so by now he is certainly old enough to have a Facebook account. However, he stays far away from any sort of social media online. He had a Facebook and deleted it, not wanting his pictures floating around on the internet. I can’t say that I’m not glad; instead of sitting on the computer for hours freaking out about the unimportant things that his friends have posted, he plays basketball outside or likes to catch up on a good book.
What I can complain about, though, is the older generation’s recent Facebook takeover.
While Rachel laments about her little sister’s Facebook use, saying that “she is just way too young” to be using social media, I want to pose a question – is there such a thing as being too old to participate in social media?
For the longest time when I was a teenager, I was not allowed to have a texting plan on my cell phone, and I was certainly not allowed to share information about myself via social media. While all my friends talked about new relationship statuses, pictures posted to Facebook and “stalking” their crushes’ online, I had to pester them to see their accounts in order to stay up to date on the latest school drama. All because my mother thought that all this digital sharing was going to be harmful and dangerous.
Things stayed this way until I walked into my den one morning and found my own mother creating her very own Facebook account.
According to an article on investorplace.com,
Facebook Users Are Getting Older … and That’s a Good Thing | InvestorPlace
Owners of FB stock worried about aging Facebook users don’t need to pull the plug on their position just yet. The numbers explain why.
the number of people ages 35-54 has increased over time. The number of users ages 13-27, however, have declined.I suppose that over time, we become desensitized to new technology because it becomes so commonplace that it’s no longer “dangerous” in our minds. Today, I’m sometimes the one who is unplugged and can’t get my mother off of Facebook. We’ll be sitting in the living room having a conversation and she will be buried in her cell phone as she shares photos and status updates and just all sorts of content in general with her Facebook friends.
While my mom has a Facebook account that she posts to frequently, sometimes she gets lost in figuring out how to use it. I can’t recount the number of times I had to teach her how to post a photo online before she actually figured it out herself. She also has an Instagram account, but she doesn’t know how to use it the right way, ignoring the options to change the filters on a photo.
Aside from my mother, almost all of my older relatives have Facebook accounts by now. They upload pictures of their children, of their younger days. My grandma is the funniest. Every time I upload a new photo to Facebook, she will be sure to like it, and she will often comment something along the lines of “my beautiful granddaughter! I love you soooooo much xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo” on every picture, if not on my Facebook wall itself
While her comments are very sweet and endearing, she doesn’t really grasp the idea of sending some messages privately. She recently posted something on my wall along the lines of “Hi Tara I hope you’re okay and eating well at school, yesterday Grandpa and I went to the doctor and then we ran some errands and then we went out to lunch…” While I love hearing about her day, she could potentially write some very personal information on my wall for all the world to see without realizing it.
So, with my mother and my grandmother as two prime examples, are some older people too old to be using social media? Are all of the latest technologies geared too centrally for young people for older people to be able to use them effectively? Many of their posts are harmless, as are the posts of children using sites like Twitter to post about trivial things like the ice cream they’re eating. But if children don’t always know how to use social media well enough to understand who they are following on it or the effects of their postings, can’t older people potentially lack understanding in the same way if they’re not accustomed to using it?
Maybe you’ll find this post to be a load of hogwash, or maybe you’ll agree with the idea that I’m posing. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.