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Facebook without tears?

When Highway did a survey of its members in July 2016, 27% used Facebook and only 11% used WhatsApp.

Recent research by Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, revealed that in the over 75 age group, use of social media had risen from 19% to 41% last year.  In the 65 to 74-year-old age group almost half use social media of some type. 

When I speak with many of our members I often hear groans about how intrusive and puerile they perceive Facebook.  I feel the same about much of the dross that is posted on Facebook or other social media.  However, I have used Facebook for many years without having view comments like ‘I drank too much last night and I’m hung over this morning’ or seeing videos of cats doing ‘funny’ things.  I have the settings tied down to give me the maximum privacy and minimum interruptions (email/notifications).  I never post anything myself on my personal Facebook page but delight in the pictures and other details that my close family post on their Facebook pages. Highway does however have its own Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Highway-Learning-Support-109744132483672/) as we're trying to involve more people in our organisation through it.

If you have a smartphone, a WhatsApp account (included under the banner of social media) is free and can be a wonderful way to stay in touch with family and friends.  It’s much more personal than Facebook in that any text or voice messages, pictures and videos you exchange are completely private between you and those with whom you choose to communicate.  If you want to know more about WhatsApp, see the Item in the Forum in June last year: https://www.hilas.org.uk/forums/view/131

So, we’re going to ask people to take a fresh look at Facebook.  We'll be updating documents in the Learning & Support Centre about how to get the most from social media without all the hassle that some put up with, simply by ‘turning down’ the settings. We do have a document entitled ‘Staying safe using social media’ https://www.hilas.org.uk/documents/download/729 (you will need to be logged in to your Highway account to view this document).  There is also an older document called ‘Facebook – the Marmite of the computer world!’ at https://www.hilas.org.uk/documents/download/646

I’m aware that family members often plead with those of the older generation to sign up to Facebook, but most desist simply because of preconceived notions that it's unsafe, intrusive and only for younger people.  The latest Ofcom statistics prove that older people are increasingly joining.

We’ll soon be scheduling Class Sessions and an online session to perhaps convince you that you can have a Facebook account without being bombarded with emails and other notifications from people you’ve never heard of!  We’ll also show the best way to set up your free Facebook account.


Phil on 16/6/17
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