Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist, is credited with releasing the source code for the first web browser and editor at the start of the 1990s. This code, which was easy to use and didn’t require any royalties, was the start of what would become the internet we know today.
There were bound to be some people who had doubts about how long the technology would last. Not to mention the people who already had other things going on in their lives and didn’t want to be distracted by “childish games.” But now that their loved grandchildren, other members of their extended family, and friends all use it, even these people are making social media accounts so they can stay in touch with them.
The fact that they are trying to get all of the scary hardware and software under control is very inspiring, but some of their attempts end up being hilariously funny comedy gold. At least compared to what we had hoped for. You can see some of the funniest of these on the Instagram account ‘Old People Facebook.’
A study done by a researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) found that the main reason older people use social media is that they don’t have enough in-person interactions. Younger people, on the other hand, use social media to make and keep relationships. This is what the study found to be the main reason why younger people use social media.
This study was the first to use a framework called “uses and gratifications” to look at how Facebook and Instagram are used by people 50 and older. The use of social media by people in this age group hasn’t been looked at very deeply.
Dr. Pavica Sheldon is a social media researcher and the author of “Social Media: Principles and Applications” and “The Dark Side of Social Media.” She says that one reason there isn’t much research on older users is that it’s hard to find people to study. Both of these books were written by Sheldon.
Most social media studies are done on college students because they are an easily accessible demographic due to convenience: they are already sitting in your classes and want extra points for filling out a survey,
Dr. Sheldon, a professor of communication arts, explained.
That is true across social science and topics. The problem with these studies is that they are not generalizable.
Lynn Johnson Ware, a co-author of the study and a former graduate student in her class, had the idea to look at how older people use social media. Dr. Sheldon said that when they looked at previous studies, they couldn’t find anything about, for example, how Baby Boomers use Instagram.
Originally, I was concerned that we would not be able to find enough participants of that age to fill out our survey,
she said, but
Lynn recruited a lot of participants through her parents’ social network.
Most older individuals tend to be later adopters when it comes to social media platforms,
Dr. Sheldon said.
When Facebook was created, only college students had access to it. It took a couple of years for older individuals to start using it. The same is true with Instagram.
But older people are slowly catching up.
Based on the results of the study, older people were divided into two groups: Baby Boomers (those between 50 and 74) and Traditionalists (age 75 plus).
Both groups tended to say that they use Facebook to have fun and pass the time. On the other hand, social activity, travel, and real-world leisure activities were good predictors of using Instagram for relationship surveillance, documentation, and self-promotion.
Our findings showed that socially active Baby Boomers use Instagram to document their stories and to show off. This finding about older individuals using visual media to promote themselves was a little surprising to us,
Dr. Sheldon noted.
On the other hand, most Baby Boomers are active on Facebook and spend more time there than on any other social media site.
People who weren’t happy with their lives turned to Facebook to make up for the fact that they didn’t have enough close friends. This was a thing that both Boomers and Traditionalists noticed. People whose lives were more satisfying used social media like Facebook and Instagram less to deal with feelings of loneliness and the need to connect with other people.
So, if you see older people having trouble with social media, don’t judge them. Most likely, they’re just trying to get in touch with someone.