So you think this whole social media caper is just a fad and only of real interest to Gen Y and Gen X? If so, then read on, you may just be surprised to find social media has been around a lot longer than you think and it has some tangible benefits for the modern Baby Boomer.

When you strip it back, social media has been in existence since the time of Socrates and Plato – only their equivalent of broadband were messengers and instead of a computer, they used papyrus scrolls. In ancient Rome they even had small tablets restricting the amount of characters you could fit - Twitter springs to mind here.

The Romans even used acronyms to shorten messages and long distance communications, much the same as today’s social network users shorten ‘by the way’ to BTW and ‘please’ to PLZ.

Did you know
More than 500 000 Australians aged 60 years and over have a Facebook page.
In fact, 60 per cent of Australians aged 55 to 64 use the internet, with more than 30 per cent of those over 65 spending time online. The whole social media sphere has been somewhat hijacked by the younger generation. It’s seen as a trend with a new platform coming onto the scene every year. First it was My Space, then Facebook and now Twitter and Instagram are the flavour of the moment.

Irrespective of the slight differences, these platforms all serve the same purpose; facilitating communication and peer-to-peer connection - this is a universal desire, not just the domain of younger generations.

Safe use of social networking sites
As with anything, while social networking sites offer you great opportunities, you should always remain cautious and know how to use these sites safely. You need to understand how privacy and security settings work on these sites up front. A common misconception is that only your contacts or “friends” can access the information you post, when in reality the default setting is that many more can view the material. Facebook has a comprehensive explanation on their site about the importance of changing the default setting.

You may also, want to watch the video tutorial above which will show you how to change your settings step-by-step. Once you know how to take advantage of the medium and not the other way around you can start enjoying the benefits of being active online.

Reasons you need to get onto social media today

  • Social interaction – you can easily meet new likeminded friends online.
  • Instant access to news and information – often news and information is leaked on social networking sites before mainstream media gets hold of it.
  • Find a new job - If you are looking for work, many people find sites like LinkedIn valuable for job searching and notices posted on Facebook have been known to lead to a job.
  • Long distance communication - You can communicate with people interstate and overseas more immediately and easily and at lower cost than a phone call.
  • Keeping engaged despite geographical location - Beneficial is you live in rural, regional and remote communities where there’s limited means of socialising.
  • Find lost friends and make new ones – track down old school friends or colleagues and connect with like-minded people in special interest groups.

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