Social media is here to stay. For many seniors, that’s good news! Social media offers many health benefits to seniors. If you’ve made the jump to social media, which is the right platform for you? There are so many to choose from!

Facebook

The Jack of All Trades

Key Attributes    
Connecting with Friends and Family Sharing Photos and Videos News

Facebook is the largest social media platform and a great place to get started. It does a bit of everything. Staying connected to loved ones, sharing photos and videos, even reading news – Facebook does it all. Connecting to loved ones is the prime strength of Facebook, though.

Staying connected to loved ones, sharing photos and videos, even reading news — Facebook does it all.

Since it’s used by multiple generations, it’s now possible to watch your grandkids growing up right before your eyes. With so much of our lives documented on Facebook, you can even look back once they’ve got a family of their own!

You wouldn’t be the only senior jumping on Facebook either. People over the age of 65 is Facebook’s fastest growing demographic. Millions are taking advantage of the platform to reconnect with old friends or meet new ones.

Twitter

The Micro-Blogger

Key Attributes    
Quick Updates Breaking News & Current Events Connecting with Brands

Twitter is very good at getting your news and life updates in bite-sized morsels. The platform’s famous 140-character limit ensures that tweets (Twitter posts) are concise and to the point. This allows users to get the meat of a story very quickly.

Twitter’s format has also made it the go-to platform for news as it’s developing. Everything from the Miracle on the Hudson to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden broke on Twitter. You can even follow some of the biggest stars in the world! Mark Hamill, Martha Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, and Oprah Winfrey are all active on the platform. Even Opie, Ron Howard, is a prolific tweeter, notching more than 10,000 tweets!

Since any of the world’s biggest brands have Twitter accounts, the platform has also become a great place to interact directly with the company. It’s even developed into an avenue for direct customer service, since companies are encouraged to quickly respond to public consumer complaints.

Twitter has become a great place to interact directly with the world’s biggest brands.

Twitter is not perfect, though. The character limit can make it difficult to share complex messages. Frequent users developed a shorthand to get around this, but it can make some tweets tough to understand. The sheer number of tweets can be daunting as well, with some accounts tweeting at a high frequency.

Instagram

The Growing Media Giant

Key Attributes    
Sharing Photos and Videos Blogging Artistic Media

Much like Facebook, Instagram does a lot of things well. The biggest difference is that Instagram focuses on sharing high quality photos and videos as opposed to text content. This is the place to go for top-notch photography from those you know and those you don’t. If you’ve got a photo of Rex, where he cooperated just long enough for the perfect picture, this is the place to share it!

Many users have begun expanding how they use Instagram, as well. For example, food blogger Lindsay Conchar of Life, Love and Sugar shared a picture of chocolate cake. It looks delicious, so you wonder how she made it. Luckily, she links right to the recipe in the picture’s description!

Instagram is also the fastest-growing of the social media platforms, and they are continually adding new features. Most recently, they added a ‘Stories’ feature that allows you to share temporary videos.

Instagram is the fastest-growing of the social media platforms.

The one con of Instagram is that its built primarily for mobile devices. You can browse on your desktop computer, but only post on mobile. This platform may not be for you if you don’t have a smartphone.

LinkedIn

The Professional’s Platform

Key Attributes    
Thought Leadership Networking Online Resume

The easiest way to think of LinkedIn is to call it Facebook for professionals. LinkedIn is great if you are looking for a job or to connect with other like-minded professionals. It can also act as an online résumé.

The easiest way to think of LinkedIn is to call it Facebook for professionals.

Not only is LinkedIn the place for professional connections. Many non-profits, like the American Red Cross, are on the platform and use it to update like-minded users. The more professional scope of the platform allows the organization to focus their message.

One of the strengths of LinkedIn is its ability to publish long-form posts. This has allowed many experts in their fields to become thought leaders.

While Instagram is great for professionals, if you’re retired, there’s less of a benefit to you. You can treat the platform like a trade publication, but that would be the extent of it.

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Further Reading

ConnectSafely — The Seniors Guide to Online Safety
Harvard Business Review — Managing Yourself: What’s Your Personal Social Media Strategy
Medicareful Living — YouTube 101: What You Should Know
SeniorNet — Social Media Guidelines for Seniors