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Social media and older people: Promising future?

By Ilona Griniute

It’s a fact that with age people tend to participate in social and community activities far less. In addition, physical disabilities and health problems can lead to forced social isolation. But recent studies confirm that social media is becoming part of the elderly life. Pew Internet reports that numbers of social media users aged 50 and above have doubled in the past years.


Seniors using social media tools in everyday life

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and other social networking sites have now become a communication tool for seniors. According to, nearly two-thirds of 50-64 year olds and 43 percent of those aged 65+ are now on Facebook. That proves older people also want to stay in touch with their younger family members and follow their lives online. But is it only about that?

A recent research by T.Nef et al. (2013) reveals that people over 50 years old is the fastest growing user group on Facebook. Reducing social isolation and loneliness and a strong willingness to be involved in their family life are among the most important motivators for seniors to go on social media. Also participation in communities, creating new social circles and establishing new relationships online make older people use social media.

Housing Learning & Improvement Network (LIN) gives four reasons why we see seniors on social media: it’s the need to connect with someone from the past, to connect with people who have the same chronic disease, to keep in touch with younger family members and gaming. Yes, we all need entertainment!

And there’s more to social media than this. Based on, social media tools can also help seniors research and learn about topics they care or hobbies they’d like to practice. It can be a way to get a quick answer to a question by reaching out to representatives on Facebook or Twitter instead of dialing a company phone. Social media is a brilliant tool to keep yourself entertained and watch a video, read an e-book or play a game.


However there are still many older people to be engaged in social media activities. T.Nef et al. discusses a number of barriers that prevent older generation from using social media. Privacy concerns and trust top the list as a major obstacle. Technical difficulties such as a lack of computer skills and heavy web design make elderly struggle as well. Older people also fear of inappropriate content when using social media. Another important finding tells that older users still find it difficult to grasp and understand the purpose of social networking sites. So what can be done to promote social participation online among seniors?

Food for thought

Carers could play a vital role in educating the elderly by sharing their own experience about social media. Having conversations with their care givers about the sites and content available out there could raise the trust and encourage older people to go on social media. Obviously, there are many benefits of using social media sites and tools and perhaps an older person just needs to be aware of them to start his first profile online.

Sources and interesting reads:

Social networking sites and older users – a systematic view, T.Nef et al., 2013

Older adults and social media, Pew Internet, 2010

Older people and social networking, Housing LIN

More elderly people using social media

11 Reasons Why Seniors Should Care About Social Media

YouRock: where young people meet employers

A surprising number of only 17% of youth under 24 use LinkedIn to showcase their professional achievements and search for jobs online. That is why the idea of creating a new platform for young Europeans aged 15-24 was born.

YouRock was launched in Germany´s National Olympic Training Centre in Kienbaum with 25 young people.

YouRock was launched in Germany´s National Olympic Training Centre in Kienbaum with 25 young people.

The launch of YouRock

YouRock employability website was launched in mid March and it marked the Get Online Week 2014 in Germany. Stiftung Digitale Chancen and Christian Schenk, former Olympic gold medalist for Decathlon involved in youth education, gathered together 25 young Berliners who were the first to sign up to test the multi-language platform on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. The site founder and CEO YouRock Ian Clifford had a chance to hear their feedback in person. YouRock aims to reach 900k+ young ICT skilled users by 2015.

Speaking a common language

YouRock serves as an online platform for creating early career profiles and ICT is encouraged to be seen as a potential career choice in today’s economic situation. Both young people and employers can speak a common language on YouRock. The site allows youth transform their school and after school activities as simple as camping into professional skills and present their personalized “diamond”. Employers and entrepreneurs, in turn, have another source to hunt for local talent based on relevant skills.

How it all started

Sponsored by Liberty Global PLC, supported by European Commission and essential to Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, YouRock was developed in hackathon at ICT 2013 in Lithuania. Later it was successfully crowd-funded to create a prototype. In August 2013 YouRock Online Ltd was established in UK who now runs the project.

“Lost generation” is not lost

Young people create a YouRock profile.

Young people create a YouRock profile.

The founder Ian Clifford says: “Young people are often described as the “lost generation”, which assumes that we, and they, can do nothing about it. I don’t believe that! YouRock was set up to enable young people across Europe realize that they have control over their employability and they are not lost. We want them to look in the mirror every morning and think, “You rock!”

For news and updates check

Source: official press release here.

What kind of jobs are there in the ICT industry?

This infographic made by Liberty Global together with Telecentre Europe addresses young Europeans, unemployed and job seekers. It aims at raising their awareness about the required digital skills in order to access ICT careers.

See the infographic (mouse-over to enlarge / share) and find out more details on the addressed topics below:

Is There a Job in ICT for me?

Telecentres evolving from digital inclusion to digital empowerment for citizens and communities

Our Managing Director Gabriel Rissola participated in the last edition of SparkLab Andalucia earlier this month and was asked a series of questions after his presentation in the forum focused on the telecentre movement in Europe, its links to European policy and the future of telecentres.

In this video he talks about the evolution of telecentres, from places dedicated to social inclusion of citizens to innovation hubs offering connections, knowledge, networking, employment and many other opprtunities to the digital cituzen of today and tommorrow.



The SparkLab concept is the evolution of the traditional model of an ICT public space or Telecentre, transformed into a laboratory of civic innovation and social inclusion that facilitates multi-sector participation and a more advanced and efficient use of ICT and mobile communication resources. It is the Telecentre of the future where the community collaborates, learns, experiments, and creates innovation, ventures, services, contents and solutions in a dynamic, participatory and expandable way.

SparkLab is an initiative created and coordinated by Foundation, the Government of Catalonia, and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in close collaboration with a select group of organizations and professionals from the public and private worlds of academia

For more information click here.

Coding not just for “IT geeks” anymore

Re-designing the future of telecentres: SparkLab Andalucia


The Spanish network of telecentres  Guadalinfo and  our partner organisation are organising this Friday, March 7th in Andalucia, Spain an event on telecentres and innovation titled “SparkLAB Andalucía”.

Sponsored by the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, the event is   a  continuation of the international SparkLAB initiative, a movement initiated by, the International Telecommunication Union and The “Generalitat de Catalunya” to encourage the evolution of telecentres from their current status as public centres for ICT learning towards telecnetres as hubs for innovation, digital inclusion and entrepreneurship.

Who should attend or participate online?

The event is geared towards the telecentre community and beyond: those intrested in innovation-specifically in the field of social innovatiom, but also mentors, managers, government officals, NGOs…in short, all the actors with a stake in the future of the telecentre community around the world. The event is not limited in scope to Spain but also combines global phenomena, practical showcases and methodological analysis, with current trends and lessons learned.

Entrepreneuship, Creativity and Technology 

Participants will have the chance to attend a number of streamed video conferences:

  • led by Sergi Marcén (@sergimarcen) on new and emerging trends in the field of mobile technology
  • one led by the company  Droiders that is currently working with Goolge glass technology whose CEO Julián Beltrán (@julianmb) will present a demo
  • telecentre Europe Director Gabriel Rissola (@tc_europe) will present the “Great Coalition of Digital Jobs” and the role of Telecentre Europe in raising awareness and training for the new digital jobs.
  • Pedro Clavería (@peclaveria) will talk about his experience in entrepreneurship and  Amalio Rey (@arey) an expert in Innovation and Development Marketing will talk about the keys to “design thinking”.

In a nutshell




The final careNET conference and other events in social care

carenet newsletter issue 4The conference about ICT and e-skills in social care took place on 26th February in Brussels. It was organised by the careNET project aimed to discuss the present challenges for care-workers. Social care professionals and policy makers together addressed the elderly acceptance of ICT, informal carers’ needs, older people involvement in European initiatives and research, technology-based services in care at home to name a few. The recording of conference discussions and presentations are available online.

The careNET Consortium also invites organisations to join the Open Pilot experience. Participants will benefit from a map of domains of competences, a learning path and learning resources, and other tools of the Virtual Learning Environment.

In February the first outcomes of the careNET project were discussed in Spain and France by the piloting partners FBIS and IPERIA.

For more details about the events, please check the project newsletter.

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