Social media is a now part of virtually everyone’s life, even seniors who may have been slow or reluctant to join in the online communities. If you’re just dipping your toe in the ever-changing social media waters, there are a few general guidelines that are applicable across all channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that will help you feel more at ease.
- Learn the differences among the platforms. For example, Instagram is a photo sharing site, Pinterest is an online corkboard for things like recipes and other ideas, Twitter is conversational at times, but mostly a information/news sharing site, and Facebook is a little of all of them.
- Feel comfortable posting photos and sharing news and other items with friends and family.
- Reach out and follow and/or “friend” family members and long lost acquaintances. This is one of the best things about social media, Facebook especially. It allows us to connect with people and loved ones we may have long lost contact with.
- Think before tagging someone. If you want to draw someone’s attention to something, perhaps it’s best to send them a message or note, rather than tag them in a post. Same thing with photos, especially if it’s less than flattering or potentially embarrassing.
- Remember when your mother used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Social media is a little bit the same way. No one wants to see constant negativity on their social feeds, so try to keep it light.
- Don’t use all caps. Although it may be tempting and less time consuming, in online communities, the use of all capital letters is the equivalent to yelling at someone and is generally frowned upon.
- Try not to post too often. A few times a day, at most, is best. Most people don’t want to be flooded with posts from one person. Twitter is more applicable for frequent postings, so if you really want to post a lot, consider Twitter over other platforms.
- Never share financial information, or social security numbers, or other sensitive data on social media. Don’t share it on your own status, or in comments.
- Try to stay away from posts that fall under “TMI,” or “too much information.” You may tell someone about some delicate medical procedures on a phone call, but posting it out for everyone on social media is something different. Same thing with photos, no one but your physician wants to see something that may need medical attention.
- Don’t argue. In today’s heated climate, it’s very easy to get in an “comment war” with someone who disagrees with your opinion. As mentioned before, keep it light and if someone gets nasty with you, just ignore the comment.