The Glamorous Grandmas of Instagram

Excerpt from this article:

On Accidental Icon, her influential Instagram account, she tends to vamp in an eye-catching mash-up of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and consignment store finds. Her following, hundreds of thousands strong, skews young, she said, and is responsive to her sass.

“I flaunt it,” she said. “I’m not 20. I don’t want to be 20, but I’m really freaking cool. That’s what I think about when I’m posting a photo.”


My 102-year-old grandmother tries social media: ‘Is this what they do all day?’

Rose Wong, 102, is still learning how to use new forms of technology.

Excerpt from this article (thanks Paul M for the link!):

It’s hard to find much tech reporting that focuses on the centenarian market. Certainly there is a large industry developing assistive technologies for the ageing baby boomer generation, but you’re unlikely to read a review of the new iPhone 7 that queries how 102-year-old women with hearing aids and arthritic fingers will handle the slim new design and wireless AirPods.

…So I decided to interview my grandmother to get a century’s worth of perspective on the latest innovations.

The stuff she already uses
…Today, our family is also widely dispersed geographically (she has great-grandchildren living in Boston, Massachusetts and Durban, South Africa), but she keeps in touch by email (like any self-respecting techie, she has a Gmail address) and Skype.

She does most of her shopping online, preferring to try clothes on at home rather than in a cramped dressing room.

If she misses the 3pm airing of the PBS NewsHour with Gwen Ifill (“I get very annoyed if somebody calls me at that hour,” she said), she watches it online.

She also bowed to necessity and purchased a cellphone about 10 years ago, though she almost never uses it. “It’s only for emergencies,” she said of her flip-phone.

The stuff she doesn’t use
A few years ago, my sister bought my grandmother an iPad, in the hopes that its intuitive design would make it easier for her to get online. But the problem with the touch screen is that it requires a steady touch.

My grandmother’s hands show her age in a way that her face does not. It is difficult for her to straighten her fingers enough to place her finger pad on the screen.

…She is also wary of social media. In 2008, at the behest of my sister, she joined Facebook, but she’s never taken to it.

“People come on Facebook and they talk about so many things that are irrelevant,” she said.

It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Fault They Keep Getting Scammed Online

Tutor Helping Senior Woman In Computer Class

Excerpt from this article:

The success of these hacks and scams have led many software developers and security professionals to gripe about the so-called “stupid users” who simply cannot be saved from themselves and their terrible passwords. While it’s true, in a tautological sense, that removing all humans from the network would make it exceptionally secure, being “stupid” and being “poorly educated” are two very different things. There are a lot of smart people out there that simply don’t have the right information to keep themselves safe online, including seniors…

Yanking grandma and grandpa (or anyone else who doesn’t know how to respond to technogeek phrased pop-ups about ActiveX controls) offline is clearly not the answer. But given the rate at which seniors are being targeted, we could be doing a better job of getting basic information to this particularly vulnerable group.


Google Charmed By Grandma’s Polite Searches

screengrab of google search

Excerpt from this article:

“I asked my nan why she used ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it seemed she thinks that there is someone — a physical person — at Google’s headquarters who looks after the searches,” he told the BBC.

“She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker.”

…”I thought, well somebody’s put it in, so you’re thanking them,” she told the radio network.

“I don’t know how it works to be honest. It’s all a mystery to me.”

Why Do Older People Love Facebook? Let’s Ask My Dad

Excerpt from this article (and there’s a cute story at the end about a grandpa who comments LOL on everything because he thinks it means “lots of love”):

…He successfully avoided social media for years. But after returning home to Indiana from my wedding a couple of months ago, he wanted to be better at keeping in touch with family and with the friends he remembers from my childhood. He told me over Facebook chat (naturally) that his curiosity about what others were up to was his main motivator in finally learning to navigate Facebook.

Now, like the rest of us, he’s hooked. He’s had a ball wishing happy birthday to my friends, commenting on our status updates and sharing his own life’s highlights. He still signs comments with his initials, but he’s learning. He has even joined a Facebook group for local music enthusiasts, sharing memories about his favorite concert (The Beatles in 1964) and photos of his drum set.

“Initially, I think I viewed it as something ‘newfangled’ that only the younger computer-generation used,” he said. “Then, like probably everybody, I started to become hooked as I saw just how expansive it is, and how much it seems to literally touch so many lives.”

The findings might not come as any surprise to countless members of the digital-savvy generations who have watched (and cringed) as their parents fell in love with Facebook, but researchers say the online lives of older adults, who are a part of the fastest-growing demographic on social media, are much more mysterious than the much-scrutinized behaviors of younger generations.

A bunch of retired people are taking over these online crossword puzzles to talk about their grandkids

Excerpt from this article on crossword puzzles comment sections acting as a social network:

People are commandeering the comments sections of The Guardian’s daily crossword puzzles to discuss their families, lunch plans, and even their love lives — but they’ve never met each other in real life.

Each day, these committed crossword enthusiasts complete The Guardian’s online puzzles. While some people use the website’s comment section to weigh in on tricky words and possible puzzle answers, a subset are using the section as their own personal hangout.

Their conversations look more like what you’d expect to hear between two friends, rather than strangers on the internet.