Dear Trudy Technology,
My best friend won’t stop talking about something called Instagram where she has “disciples” or something and keeps getting “hearts.” She has tried to explain the whole thing to me, saying, “It’s just like Facebook with all photos and videos!” But, I’m not “on the Facebook” either. Am I missing something? I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to using the internet to look things up and send emails so I’m sure I could learn, but where would I even start?
Confused on Camano
It sounds like your friend is really enjoying social media! “Social media” is the over-arching term for all types of online communication platforms. Social media can be a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family, to get news, and hear about events happening in your community or online.
The best way to learn about these platforms is to sign-up and follow the tutorials and tips provided by the site. I also recommend visiting www.caringseniorservice.com/senior-social-media-guide to download their social media guide specifically for seniors. You also mentioned you are good at looking things up online, try a simple search and you will be amazed by the number of free resources available to help you learn how to do things online.
You can also visit Island Senior Resources’ Virtual Community Page at www.senior-resources.org/virtual-community/ to find out about other online opportunities, and to find links to sites like Senior Planet that provide technology classes.
Dear Trudy Technology,
My husband has been spending a large amount of time online. He believes everything he reads, and it has become exhausting, and frankly scary, listening to all of the theories he is starting to believe. Is there any way to double check the legitimacy of something you read online? How can I help him distinguish what is real from what is fake?
Help Me Out in Holmes Harbor
This has definitely become an issue for so many people. It can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction on the internet, especially when friends are sharing and reposting these things on social media. The first thing to know is, don’t believe everything you read! Everything we take in from the world wide web should be consumed through a critical lens. We need to constantly be asking ourselves, is this from a reputable source?
The website snopes.com is a great resource in determining if something you find online is real or not. They fact check just about everything and can be trusted. If you are ever in doubt, do more research. If only one site is reporting something, or it only exists in Facebook posts, there is a good chance it isn’t real. Be patient with your husband and try to encourage him to spend less time online falling into black-holes, and more time with you, in the real world.
If you have questions for Trudy Technology, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.