Social Media for the Old and the Curious

Remember that fateful day when your mom or dad added you on Facebook? It was a gamechanger. Suddenly, you had to pay attention to what you post, learn how to tweak your privacy settings, and inform your friends when they shouldn’t tag you in photos. Unless your parent is like Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls, who’s “not a regular mom but a cool mom,” chances are you’re wary of what your relatives can see on your timeline.

Old people are embracing Facebook as if they were the original target audience of this platform. Aside from giving our daily dose of inspirational quotes, they’re also our main sources of information on how to detect when someone’s having a stroke and the health benefits of wheatgrass. And because they are active on Facebook, they start discovering that other social networking sites exist. So let me break it down for you, ladies and gents. To the old, the curious, and the newly initiated, this is how we do things online.

Facebook: THE Social Network

There are only three reasons not to have a Facebook account: 1) You live somewhere with no internet and/or computers; 2) You’re a psycho who wants to keep your trail of dead bodies hidden; 3) You think it makes you look cool not to have one. Simply put, everyone is on Facebook. And every day is like an online reunion with your parents, aunts and uncles, high school classmates you barely know, acquaintances you met at some event, and colleagues you regret adding up as “friends.”

With such diverse audience, you need to present yourself in a good light. Your bosses and people from your company’s human resources department can read whatever you post so work complaints aren’t encouraged. Unless you really want HR to know your dissatisfaction, then have at it. Or you can always create a separate account for your other personas (which is weird, by the way).

I used to regularly post witty status updates on Facebook. But since joining Twitter, I’ve moved most of my material on it.

Twitter: All the feelings

If you have an opinion on everything and believe you were a comedian in your previous life, then Twitter is for you.

The first question that old people always ask about Twitter is, “What is a hashtag?” So let’s get this out of the way immediately. First of all, a hashtag looks like this: #HeyThisIsAHashtag. You include a hashtag in your tweet when you want to participate in a specific discussion. Like, when Kris Aquino cried during the President’s recent State of the Nation Address. You could’ve tweeted “Kris Aquino is being a scene-stealer yet again” with the hashtag “#SONA2014,” and people would instantly understand what you’re talking about. Or say, “Grabe ang hangin! #GlendaPH” It gives a tweet context. You can also use a hashtag as a punchline, or to emphasize sarcasm or irony. There are even hashtag games. But let’s leave that to the pros.

You can tweet about anything as often as you want. You’re heartbroken? Feel free to share all your #feelz for the entire world to read. Having a busy day? Please let us know the details of each and every errand you had to accomplish. And nothing unites us better than sharing our miseries about rush hour traffic, flooded roads, corrupt politicians, and the UAAP Cheerdance Competition.

Unlike on Facebook, we welcome drama on Twitter. You see, on Facebook, when you ask someone to be your friend and he/she accepts your request, then you’re on equal footing because you’ve both agreed to “befriend” each other.

On the other hand, you don’t become friends on Twitter—you follow people. And the people you follow won’t necessarily follow you back; an implication of which is that the person you followed is not interested enough in what you have to say. So even the mere building of your following list is hinged on drama. And what if the person who used to follow you suddenly unfollows you? More drama! It’s a very passive-aggressive community.

But the one thing that may turn old people away from Twitter is its 140-character limit. I’ve worked with a lot of old people and brevity is not their thing. They could go on and on and on about their stories and you’ll get tired listening to them before they get tired of yakking. You’ll find yourself wondering how come they have so much more energy when you’re supposed to be the one brimming with youth and vigor.

I love Twitter because of the parody accounts. My favorites are God and Cersei Lannister. Here are some choice tweets from the two to give you an idea on what kind of humor is prevalent on Twitter:

There are even accounts that tweet seemingly useless things but people dig that shit. If Justin Bieber can get a thousand retweets for a simple “Hey,” then why not Coffee Dad and his boundless love for coffee, right?

LinkedIn: I can’t believe they made a social network for work.

My Twitter timeline will make recruiters think twice before hiring me. So, future employers, let me direct you to my LinkedIn account.

If social networks were clothes, Twitter would be that faded t-shirt you love to wear because it’s so soft and comfortable, but is no longer appropriate to wear outside because its collar resembles bacon. LinkedIn, meanwhile, is that crisp white shirt you have to hand wash, bleach, and iron. And when you finally put it on, you restrict your movement because you don’t want it to get creased or spill things on it. I honestly wouldn’t have signed up on LinkedIn if it weren’t for work. It’s just basically a place where you upload your CVs, check out where your college classmates work, and build your professional network. (Eurgh.)

However, I do like reading informative articles on when and how to get a pay raise, figuring out the signs that you should quit your job, and what questions you should be asking your recruiter on a job interview. (What? No! How dare you insinuate such a thing. I LOVE my job!)

Instagram: http://www.selfies.com

Everything is awesome and beautiful on Instagram with the right filters. This site popularized selfies, as well as food and foot photos. There are a lot of articles and think pieces on selfies, and how capturing what’s happening in the moment takes you out of the moment.

I think selfies are great. I don’t understand why some people apologize for posting a selfie or feel like they have to preface their selfies with, “I don’t usually take selfies but…” What’s the big deal? I understand some people disapprove of how “overly directed” Instagram photos can be making them feel less “real” and not “in the moment,” but everyone is entitled to use the platform however they want to. If you’re not comfortable with other people’s self-love or self-expression through photography—professional or otherwise—then Instagram is not for you.

Tumblr: The top of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs

Tumblr may be an alien world to old people, and I don’t blame them because only a few people my age are even on Tumblr. But I have to include it here because Tumblr is my happy place. I have barely any followers, but that’s where I usually find myself when I’m sad or uninspired. There’s always something on it that will make me smile and sometimes literally LOL about.

Tumblr is where I find new TV shows and movies to watch, new books to read, informative articles and blog posts on feminism, inspirational quotes that won’t make you hurl, writing prompts and tips, cute animals doing insanely cute things, and all the amazing gifs. What is a gif, you ask? This is a gif:

holding in a fart all day and finally getting home

And this is a gifset.

Tumblr is a gift. You just need to find and follow accounts that cater to your interests, and you will have a grand ol’ time.

I understand if you guys feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities these social networking sites present. The key is finding the one you need. If Facebook is already enough for you, then you don’t need to branch out. But if you feel like you’re missing out on something, then there might be another social networking site that would suit you. And it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation; you can have it all. Just be prepared to be distracted all the time.

Edited by Allan Policarpio

Images via, via, via, via, via

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