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Senior Center's October Technology Column Focuses on Social Media

Sep 22, 2020 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
The topic of his month's Senior Technology is Social Media. What do the social media platforms we hear so much about actually do?  Webster’s definition of social media is: “forms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”  Below are brief descriptions of some of the more popular social media platforms. All of the platforms mentioned below are free. Usually, you just need a valid email address to set up an account.
Facebook allows you to post status updates, send messages to other Facebook users, post pictures and share content. Most use this to keep in touch with friends and family. You will see posts with pictures of kids, weddings, vacations, etc.. Usually when you post to Facebook, it will be seen by many other people. There are privacy settings to limit who sees your posts, but if privacy is what you are looking for, perhaps this is not the best platform for you to use.
Twitter’s primary purpose is to allow people to share their thoughts with a big audience. You can “follow” your favorite actor, business or friends so each time they post, it will be shown in your “feed”. Receive instant information regarding news stories, current events and peoples’ opinions!
Snapchat is a popular messaging app that allows you to exchange pictures and videos (called snaps) that are meant to disappear after they're viewed. You can take video or pictures with “filters” and send them to friends. These filters can overlay dog ears, a crown, hearts or almost anything else you can think of on top of your photo just for fun!
YouTube is a free video sharing website. Anyone with a YouTube account can create and upload their own videos. From dancing dogs to do-it-yourself videos, you can find just about any kind of video on YouTube. It is estimated that YouTube viewers watch about six billion hours of videos each month!
Instagram is a social media platform that emphasizes photo and video sharing via its mobile app. You can take, edit, and publish visual content for your followers to interact with through likes, comments, and shares. It's hard to remember a time before Instagram.
These are just a handful of popular social media platforms. There are several others and many new ones popping up each day. If you use any of these applications, remember that what you post on the Internet will always be “out there.” Review the privacy policies of the application and configure your settings to be as public or private as you want. Most often, you can’t take it back once it’s out there so please be cautious when posting photos or information that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.
Karen Jasinski-Dutil is the Information Technology Director for the Town of Bellingham and writes each month for the Council on Aging newsletter about the challenges faced by local seniors in dealing with the rapidly-changing world of technology.




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