9 Ways Baby Boomers Can Feel More Comfortable on Social Media

Baby boomers sometimes struggle becoming familiar with and using social media and related technologies. If you want to reconnect with old acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, the nine strategies outlined below can help you become more comfortable with social media. 

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According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2014, 63 percent of Internet users between the ages of 50 and 64 use Facebook. Of Internet users ages 65 and older, 56 percent use the social media site, which represents an 11 percent increase from 2013. You might use social media to keep in contact with family members who live far away, but social media also offers an opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends with whom you've lost touch over the years.

1. Set Boundaries for Profiles and Posts

Before you start exploring social media, decide what material you will and will not share. Knowing your boundaries will help you navigate the social media scene safely. For instance, some people post photographs of their friends and family members on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms. If you don't feel comfortable posting photos of other people, decide in advance that you'll abstain from posting and sharing photos of other people.

2. Send a Personal Message With an Invitation to Connect

When you find someone you used to know on Facebook or any other social media site, you can send the person an invitation to connect. The message recipient will receive a notification about your request and can accept or decline it. While a simple request to connect might suffice, adding a personal message can help.

This level of personalization lets the recipient know that you're interested in establishing a connection. Remind the person about who you are and how you know him or her. Add a kind comment about how excited you are to reconnect.

3. Make Your Posts or Status Updates Interesting

When you're first getting used to social media, you might not know what information to share. Many social media users fill their streams and feeds with uninteresting information about meals or daily schedules. Resist the urge to post unnecessary updates. Instead, focus on creating exciting, interesting, or meaningful messages. Think about what types of details would interest the people you connect with.

4. Look Your Best in Profile and Posted Photographs

Reconnecting with people you haven't seen in years can be intimidating. Whether you've added a few pounds or suffered from more than your fair share of cavities, you don't want to associate social media with social anxiety. If you look your best in profile photos, however, you'll feel more confident connecting with others and using social media to stay updated on life events.

According to Shape Magazine, 40 percent of people notice smiles first when they meet their colleagues, and 96 percent believe that smiles are important aspects of a person's appearance. When you meet new people, you might make judgments about them, from their overall health condition to their financial status, based on their smile quality.

Fixing dental problems can get expensive, so consider Carefree Dental. For $14.95 per month, you receive a card that can save between 15 and 50 percent on dental treatments through participating providers.

5. Keep Friends Out of Games and Quizzes

You might love to play Facebook games, but keep the game-related updates on your feed to a minimum. Your friends and followers don't need to know every time you score 1,000 points on your favorite game or take a quiz to find out your personality type.

Similarly, avoid posting the same content multiple times. If you have big news, you can mention an announcement more than once, but change your wording so that your message doesn't come across as spam and so that your friends can appreciate some variety.

6. Feel Free to Say No

If someone sends you a message with a request to link your social media accounts as friends or followers, you don't have to respond. Social media should give you a safe, comfortable space to connect with old friends and keep in touch with current acquaintances. You shouldn't feel forced to interact with people you aren't interested in befriending.

This feeling is doubly true if you don't know the person on the other end of the request. Don't feel pressured to respond with a polite explanation about why you didn't accept the request.

7. Complete Your Profile Carefully

Some social media platforms allow users to complete detailed profiles about their likes, dislikes, family members, marital status, education, and work history. While you can answer every question and fill in every blank on your platform, you don't have to give any information that makes you uncomfortable.

For example, if you never graduated with the law degree you once pursued, you don't have to announce your lack of education on social media. Similarly, you may not be ready to broadcast a recent divorce or your relationship.

8. Find Someone to Help

When you can't figure out how to change your privacy settings or you're not sure what a social media-related term means, have a pal in your corner who understands the platform. That person could be a child or grandchild, a computer-savvy neighbor, or the IT colleague you worked with years ago.

Alternatively, put the search engines to work. When you don't know how to do something on social media, enter your query and study the results.

9. Test One Social Media Platform

You don't have to join every social media website on your first day, within a year, or ever. Choose one site, get comfortable with it, and then explore if you feel the need to diversify your online activities. However, consider how much time you have to devote to the platforms.

Getting comfortable on social media allows you to lead a social life online and offline. If you're worried about what people will think when they see your photo, an imperfect smile can be one less thing to worry about. Take advantage of Carefree Dental today.

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