Twitter is a great resource for anyone, but seniors can especially benefit from the instant connections and up-to-the-minute news it provides. The social networking site is one of the best for seniors to frequent. Here’s a Twitter guide to help you get started.
Twitter Guide Basics: Getting Started
To set up your Twitter account, first choose a user name. This could be your actual name (if it isn’t taken already) or a cute or quirky one that describes your personality. Then, think of a short, one-line biography that tells the world who you are. Don’t forget to include a photo, which will be seen on every tweet you send.
Twitter has a handy glossary that lays out the specifics on how many characters you can include in a tweet (140 and under) and how to reply to tweets and messages.
Hashtags (#) are the key to navigating your way around Twitter. You can find things you’re interested in by searching for a term in the search box (“seniors” or “retirees,” for example), and any tweets that have used the hashtag for that term will pop up. You can then retweet (share) or respond to these items.
The hashtag can also help you be a part of the conversation. Using a hashtag (such as “Proud to be a #senior”) will automatically put your tweet in the search results for that term.
You can instantly see the topics others are talking about most with the “trending” area on the left side of the screen. Simply click on the link of any of the trending terms that interest you, and Twitter will pull up the tweets related to that subject. You’ll be able to view and respond to tweets from users whether you follow them or not.
Who to Follow
Part of the fun of Twitter is following your favorite people, including those you know personally, as well as celebrities and public figures you’ve never met. Here are a few accounts you might find of interest:
- Betty White: This savvy 92-year-old uses Twitter to promote her shows and provide humorous updates on the goings-on in her life.
- The Alliance for Retired Americans: This organization fights for security in retirement.
- Cyber-Seniors: The Twitter account for a documentary of the same name, which follows a group of seniors as they discover all the cool stuff on the Internet with the help of teens.
- AARP: The AARP tweets out inspiring stories about seniors and resources for people over age 50.
What to Tweet
You can include a picture or a short movie (using the Vine program) with your tweet, but be careful. Twitter is a public forum. Anyone can follow you or see the things you post, unless you protect your tweets.
Use Twitter to connect with your friends, children and grandchildren, and any celebrity or politician you’d like to share your opinions with. Many companies also respond to Twitter messages, so if you’d like to give a shout-out to a company or product you enjoy, Twitter is a good way to do it.
Social networking can help keep seniors informed and give you a voice to speak your opinions about everything from world events to the things you find funny or inspirational. Best of all, the short, less-than-140-character tweets allow you express a variety of thoughts with people from all over the world.