How to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

How to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read any good tweets recently, posted a selfie on Instagram or shared a meme on Facebook? Sometimes it can seem like the world out there is speaking a foreign language.

Technology has most definitely transformed the way we communicate, connect and socialise. If you feel out of touch but curious about what all the fuss is about, then read on – we have some tips to help you find your way around this brave new world. It’s easier than you think and you’re never too old to learn.

Social media use on the rise for adults 65 and over

A new Pew Research Centre study shows that 43 per cent of Internet users age 65 and over are now using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – that’s up from 13 per cent in 2009. Those numbers suggest that it really is time to get on the bandwagon if you haven’t done so already.

So what are your options for getting involved in social media and how do you get started? Let’s take a look at the more popular platforms.

Connect with friends and family on Facebook

Facebook has become a global meeting place to connect and share with others. It’s an easy and quick way to check in with family or friends to find out what they’re up to by looking at their “posts”. Posts allow the opportunity to share what you’ve been doing with others and vice versa. You can also post uploaded photos or videos, jokes, memes, website links, thoughts, opinions – anything.

It’s also a great tool for keeping in touch with family and friends who live quite far or perhaps even overseas. You can search for old schoolmates, long lost relatives or business colleagues if you want to reconnect with them.

You can do this by searching for their name on Facebook. If they’re using Facebook too, you can “send” them an invitation to be your “friend” on Facebook. If they accept your request, you can start communicating with them via Facebook or simply read each other’s posts.

Facebook Messenger Stories allow you to share photos and videos for a short amount of time with your friends and family. You are able to do this by tapping on the 'Your Story'. You are then able to take a photo or video of whatever you like or upload a photograph you've taken earlier.

Twitter keeps you informed on what interests you

Twitter is an online social networking tool based around short text-based messages of 280 characters or less.

Unlike the person-to-person nature of an email or posting messages on Facebook for your friends to see on, Twitter is more like a broadcast messaging service that lets you express your news, thoughts and opinions to anyone interested in the subject.

Conversely, it lets you follow the messages of other Twitter users or see ‘tweets’ on news and issues that interest you.

The focus of Twitter is the speed with which it can report an event – from the extraneous to the extraordinary – and its power to broadcast to a worldwide audience. No wonder it has revolutionised the way the world gets its news.

Twitter lets you see what is happening in the world in real time, follow what your favourite movie or sports star is up to, see news breaking as it happens or stay across the latest information on any area of interest you might want to follow.

In order to get the most out of Twitter, it’s good to get an understanding of the hashtag concept. A hashtag is basically a way of allowing you to label a tweet message in a way that will maximise its reach to people interested in a particular topic.

On the flip side, it allows you to search and stay across subjects that interest you. For example, #mountains will show tweets that have the same hashtag, whether they're photos, tweets or videos.

Instagram is a photo-based social network

Just like Facebook, Instagram is a social networking service, but with a particular focus on sharing and connecting with friends through photographs. It allows you to post your own photos and see the photos of others who you choose to connect with. You can make your account public or limit it to who you’ve allowed to see your images.

Instagram has been designed to make it super-easy to upload photos from your smartphone or tablet. You can even embellish your image instantly using some in-built artistic filters that let you put some personality into whatever you post. Some simulate the look of a Polaroid snap and some publish your pic in black and white.

The real fun of Instagram is seeing photos uploaded by people in your network. Imagine seeing your grandchildren’s latest antics just after they have happened or the fish your brother has just caught on his interstate holiday. The more people you accept in your network of contacts, the more photos you will get to see. You can then interact with whoever is uploading by “liking” them or leaving a comment.

Instagram Stories allow you to share photos and videos for a short amount of time with your followers. You are able to share with them by swiping to the left once you have the app open on the homepage. You are then able to take a photo or video of whatever you like or upload a photograph you've taken earlier. You are also able to see other people's stories who you follow as well.

Managing privacy

Privacy is a big concern for anyone starting out on social media. Fortunately, making your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account limited to the level you want is simply done. When you create your account and set up your profile you can specify the level of privacy you want, so that your posts are limited to the family, friends and acquaintances that you are connected with.

5 top tips for social media etiquette

When it comes to deciding what to say in your posts and comments you can make on social media, there are a few ground rules to abide by to avoid social media faux pas, inadvertently offending someone or giving out too much information.

1. Before you post, ask yourself: "Would I say this face-to-face to all my friends?"

2. Don’t rush – stop and think about what you are posting before you post.

3. If it is a personal one-on-one message, don’t post it for everyone else to see. Make it a private message or just email or call them.

4. Don’t just talk about yourself and don’t treat social media just as a soapbox for your opinions.

5. Be polite and respect others and always ask permission before posting photos or sharing other’s posts.

Do you find social media useful or a struggle? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of Wyza.com.au.