Monday June 24, 2019

Facebook Can Help Older People Feel Less Lonely

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

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For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.
Old Man, (Pixabay)

If your grandparents are struggling with isolation, showing them how to use Facebook may help as researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that social networking sites offer tools and activities that may help older adults feel more empowered and less lonely.

Facebook and similar social networking sites could play a critical role in easing isolation and making them feel like they are part of a large community, said the study published in the journal New Media and Society.

“This is important, especially for older adults who might be aging in place, because they have mobility constraints that limit their ability to socialize,” said study co-author S. Shyam Sundar, Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

The researchers "friended" the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.
Facebook logo, Pixabay

For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.

The researchers “friended” the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.

The participants were also asked to respond to a questionnaire that captured the gratifications they obtained from Facebook.

Older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on Facebook felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customised their profiles, the more in control they felt, Sundar said.

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

Sundar added that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good, but offers multiple functions for diverse users.

Older adults are increasingly adopting social media, in general, and are a growing number of Facebook’s total membership, said Eun Hwa Jung from National University of Singapore who worked with Sundar.

Also Read: Google Now Lets You Register Sites Ending In .app

Facebook is considered the most popular social network among older adults, the researchers added.

The researcher also emphasised that developers of social media networks should consider the needs of this growing group of users.

For example, they should create features that enhance the identity of older adults while simultaneously protecting their privacy. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook’s Push to Become China’s WeChat May Kill it

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre

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facebook, christchurch attack, new zealand
FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

Facebook which accounts for 75 per cent of global ad spend that is likely to hit $110 billion by 2020 is nowhere near an immediate demise and government regulations would only strengthen the social networking giant in the short term, a new Forrester research has forecast.

However, Facebook’s push to become China’s WeChat — more than a messaging app and is full of capabilities to make life easier for its one billion users — would be its undoing.

Facebook‘s no-good-very-bad 2018 may have meant an overworked PR team but the social media behemoth is doing just fine.

It continues to report steady user and revenue growth: a 9 per cent year over year increase in users in Q4 2018 and a 30 per cent increase in revenue in the same time-frame.

“The three parties that could impact Facebook the most — users, brands and regulators — will move too slowly for it to feel any instant impact,” said Jessica Liu, Senior Analyst, Forrester.

The coming years won’t be easier, but the social media behemoth won’t suddenly collapse either, as many predict.

facebook
FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

“But while Facebook’s short-term outlook might be fine, its long-term outlook is bleak,” Liu added

Despite constant negative news last year, Facebook continued to report strong quarter-

over-quarter user and revenue growth. Brands that mishandle their own users’ data and fail to inform them typically falter.

While these users and advertisers could affect change at the social media giant immediately, they won’t, thus allowing it to continue to defy the odds.

“Enacting and enforcing regulation takes so long that Facebook will be able to shore up its assets and unique advantages in the short term and eliminate any vulnerabilities before serious user, advertiser, or regulatory changes materialize,” Liu emphasised.

The social networking giant with over two billion users globally, is facing regulatory challenges as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has exposed its lapses of data privacy and security.

facebook, personal data
FILE – A man poses for a photo in front of a computer showing Facebook ad preferences in San Francisco, California, March 26, 2018. VOA

The downfall for Facebook, said Liu, would come with its desire to build an all-inclusive social media experience, as its CEO mark Zuckerberg is planning to merge all apps like Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into one.

“Facebook’s hope to recreate WeChat, China’s largest messaging app turned all-in-one portal

to the Internet, presents long-term challenges,” Liu added.

WeChat primarily operates in a single country’s political and regulatory environment.

Also Read: South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Launches 2 New Tablets in India

“Facebook will need to tack on products and services to fulfill its one-app vision while global regulators threaten antitrust. It will also grapple with protecting user privacy globally while appeasing advertiser appetite for hypertargeting,” Liu noted.

As people become increasingly aware of social media’s harm, social media will lose its lustre.

“History has taught us that existing apps max out and then decline as users tire of the services or the company (like AOL, MySpace, Friendster). The Facebook app is already experiencing this; Instagram and WhatsApp will follow in a natural peak and then eventually decelerate, too,” Liu commented. (IANS)