Theres a section in India Knight’s book In Your Prime about technology and growing older, which perfectly sums up how I feel about people (particularly older people) who refuse to get involved with social media “There is no heroism in being a luddite. There is nothing charming about not understanding ‘computers’. The rest of us all like real books and letters too, and it’s very tiresome when people announce this pretence as it somehow makes them special”.
People who still can’t answer an email, understand Twitter, or find stuff out online, annoy the Hell out of me – I’m sorry folks, but this is modern life and the way people communicate and refusing to understand this, puts middle-aged people (because really old people have an excuse – we don’t) into the “ancient old dullards” category and do no favours for the rest of us.
When someone announces “they are just too busy for Twitter” or “can’t stand all that over sharing on Facebook” I switch off and try not to get into an argument about why they are missing out on a huge part of modern life – as they are usually either too lazy, or too scared to get involved.
Of course there are people who share their every thought on social media, but they are usually the people who do this in real life and personally I think it’s their choice. If you are a private person then its entirely possible to stay that way even on Facebook. Social media is simply a way of keeping in touch with life, just like letters, magazines and newspapers.
Interestingly it seems it can become even more relevant as we age as a recent study by the University of Exeter has found that people should use Facebook and other social media websites to prevent their health declining.The study found pensioners who spend time online do not feel as lonely as others their age, which could stunt deterioration of physical and mental health.
The project’s leader, Dr Thomas Morton, said ‘Human beings are social animals, and it’s no surprise that we tend to do better when we have the capacity to connect with others. But what can be surprising is just how important social connections are to cognitive and physical health. People who are socially isolated or who experience loneliness are more vulnerable to disease and decline.
One participant said learning how to navigate her way through the internet had ‘changed her life’.
‘Having this training changes people’s lives and opens up their worlds, invigorates their minds and for lots of us gives us a completely different way of recognising our worth as we age, I was just slipping away into a slower way of life’.
So if you know anyone who still refuses to engage with technology, perhaps this is a good way to encourage them to get involved. Using social media is not only interesting, it’s actually good for our health!!