That’s right, I’m 88 years old and as I write this, I have 1,500 wonderful Twitter users following my @travel4seniors Twitter account. I’ve been Tweeting for a few years, and as a travel blogger (the world’s oldest) and contributor for Yahoo, I always include my Twitter handle at the end of my articles or blog posts.
How I use Twitter. My main use of Twitter is more for business purposes. As a blogger and online writer, I use it to promote and publicize my articles and blog posts. I use what are called hashtags (#) to showcase the content to a wider audience and will also tag the specific subjects or properties I write about. To me, it’s all about building a larger network and audience for the articles I write.
Twitter basics. If you’re new to Twitter, first go to the site’s own Getting Started with Twitter as it’s a clear, concise overview of the site and how it all works. It’s basically a way of communicating using messages no longer than 140 characters. People and business on Twitter have usernames, shown with a “@” and people, businesses and subjects can also be referenced using the “#”, called a hashtag symbol. Use of these symbols on the app or site automatically creates a weblink within Twitter making it easy for users to jump from one user to another, and also easy to follow other users. This is the reason they call it a social “network”, as everything is so easily connected. Twitter works great on a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone and functions in a similar way.
Interact with the world. For personal senior users, Twitter is a great way to interact with the world in a real-time situation. If you like news up to the second, Twitter is a great place to find out about things happening, locally or internationally. Following Twitter accounts like @CNNBreakingNews or @BBCBreakingNews can provide constant updates on top news stories while local accounts like @WehoDaily (one of my personal, local favorites) can provide neighborhood news like traffic accidents and police activity.
Give and check feedback. Headed to a restaurant, hotel or other business? You would be surprised how much information can be found on Twitter. Check to see what other Twitter users are saying about a business and also track the responses provided to any complaints (or compliments).
You can even reach out to the brand in advance, by Tweeting something like “Hey @DowntownHotel, I’m coming to visit next month, are you ready for me?” You might be surprised how well you’re treated, with the hotel knowing you are active in expressing your opinions on social media. It’s also become a great venue to share feedback with the world after a positive or negative experience, sometimes getting a better and quicker response than trying to contact customer service directly.
Communicate with friends and family. Many people use Twitter as their primary method of communication, by tagging people in Tweets, they are instantly notified on their smart phones. Some prefer it over email or texting. You can send direct, private messages to other users and Tweets can also be photos or videos, not just text.
Just get started. The best way to learn is by doing and a Twitter account can be created in minutes. Then just search around and start following some Twitter accounts that seem interesting. There’s a a lot of senior information and senior-specific Twitter accounts. @AARP and its individual state chapters have Twitter accounts as well. You’ll see Twitter itself suggest accounts to follow and it all builds up rather quickly. Start Tweeting yourself, just say hello to the world and let everyone know what you’re thinking and like me, you’ll be a social media influencer before you know it.
Ted Sherman has spent a lifetime traveling. With journeys to every continent, almost 100 cruises and multiple group tours, he enjoys sharing his travel experiences and knowledge with others. Follow Ted on Twitter, @travel4seniors and read more on his travel blog, travel4seniors.
More from this contributor:
Three Great Family Golf Experiences
First Person: Social Media and Brand Image
First Person: 5 Unusual Places to Retire in the U.S.