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Social Media: A Helpful Guide for The Elderly Part 2

Posted by Jamie McKay on November 25, 2020

A pink tinted background of an elderly couple using a smartphone, with text in the middle reading "Social Media: A Guide for the Elderly Part Two" in the middle. Logos for the apps Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, WhatsApp and Messenger feature below.

We recently created a social media guide for the elderly, but we ran out of space! So, this week here is part two of: Social Media – A Helpful Guide for The Elderly (you catch up with part one of this guide here.)


Last time we covered the two most popular social media platforms Facebook and Twitter, but hot on their heels are a few others, including Instagram.

What Is Instagram?

Instagram is all about pictures, pictures of everything! From recipes to fashion, to scenery, to cute animals.

It’s a bit like the part of the newspapers they used to have after the telly section but before the horoscopes, where they have readers write in with pictures of what they have been up to. A pie they baked for a birthday, a ridiculous sleeping position a beagle got into on the sofa, a ‘funny’ sign from Norwich.

Although you can post and see pictures on Facebook and Twitter, they can get a bit lost amongst other text and news, quizzes, competitions and ads.

One of the major differences from other social media platforms is that Instagram is designed to be an app, used on smart phones and tablets.

You can still view pictures on a computer or a laptop, but it is a bit of a faff and not really what it is meant for.

How To Sign Up To Instagram

Signing up is easy, you just go to where you are met with this page:

the image shows the instagram log in page

As you can see, you can create your log in details, or if you already have a Facebook account, you can use those details to log in (Instagram, like lots of social media, is actually owned by Facebook)

You will also see that you can download the app at the Apple Store (for iPhone users) or Google Play (for Android and smart phones that aren’t iPhones).

Once you are logged in, Instagram will give you a long list of suggested people to follow, some of which anyone under the age of 21 won’t know who they are!

A good tip is to follow a friend or relative who is already on Instagram and look at who they follow for ideas.

Or, think of someone or something you like, do you like Strictly Come Dancing? Type that in the search bar and you will be able to see sneak previews of the show. Or follow Claudia Winkleman to see behind the scenes.

If you like cooking, then lots of chefs have Instagram accounts and are always posting recipe ideas. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you the latest Nigella Lawson book for Christmas, just follow her on Instagram and you will see recipe pictures and ideas pretty much every day.

the image shows nigella lawsons insta page with a recipe on it

You may want ideas for Christmas decorations or presents, you can search for those too. You can make your Instagram exactly how you like it.

You can also follow specific hashtags, such as #birdwatching, to see posts from all sorts of users on a specific topic you like!

When it is good, Instagram can look like a glossy celeb magazine interspersed with fantastic photos from your friends and family.


Similar to Instagram, in that it is picture based, is Pinterest. I like to think of Pinterest as a big notice board.

Say, for example you were looking to redecorate the living room. Go to Pinterest and type ‘decoration ideas’ in the search bar, you should see something similar to this:

the image shows a search for decorating ideas on pinterest

You can then scroll through and get literally thousands of ideas for home décor, or anything else!

You know that section in the supermarket that displays all the magazines they sell? Pinterest is like a huge version of that. Whatever the subject you will find ideas and inspiration.

For those creative types, Pinterest is useful as a mood board, looking to write a short Christmas story? Pinterest will give you reams of Christmassy pictures for inspiration.


Just a quick update about this social media platform, it is mainly the domain of the under 20’s but if you want to know what on earth your grandchildren are talking about, or if you want to join in, here’s a quick explainer:

TikTok is a video platform, where people post videos, usually 60 seconds or shorter. It can be for anything, but at the moment lip-syncing to popular audio clips, animals being silly and dance routines are popular.

Other popular video topics include fun facts, unearthing clips from TV shows that seem like a distant memory, and aesthetically organising food cupboards. As you can see, the sky is the limit in terms of short-form video content!

Much like Instagram, you can also follow specific hashtags on topics you like! The more content you interact with (liking and commenting), the more tailored your feed becomes for you to endlessly scroll. For example, if you like a lot of videos that involve barbecuing, get ready to see a lot of grilled meats in your feed.

Over 70% of the users on TikTok are under 34 years old and although some businesses are starting to see potential in such a huge fan base, it is still primarily just for fun!

If you are curious and want to see what the fuss is about then head over to and take a look. You won't have to go through the faff of waiting for a confirmation email to arrive if you have a Facebook or Twitter account, as you can link any of these together to automatically create a TikTok account!

the image shows the tiktok log in page

WhatsApp And Facebook Messenger

We thought we would write a bit about these two, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as they are prime examples of apps that started out being used by teenagers, that are now in the mainstream and can be incredibly useful for keeping in contact with your friends and family.

Unlike text messages and phone calls, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are completely free! Yes, completely free.

If you (or a family member) download WhatsApp to your smart phone, you can instantly add any contacts on your phone, who have WhatsApp.

Then you can send text messages, photos, voicemails and videos to anyone in your phone book with the App.

The same applies for Facebook Messenger, if you have a Facebook account then you have Facebook Messenger.

the image shows someone using whatsapp

Free Phone Calls

One of the huge advantages of using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger is that you can make phone calls, using your Wi-Fi, making them totally free!

This is especially useful if you live somewhere where the mobile phone signal is patchy or poor. The call will use the Wi-Fi signal, for a clearer call with your friends or family.

Group Chats

One of the most popular functions in WhatsApp and Messenger is that you can create private group chats. For example, lots of people will have a Family Group. Where all the members of a family can send messages to each other, without having to find the individual phone numbers.

So, you could have a chat between grandparents, parents, children, about arrangements for Christmas Day, all on one screen.

With these apps, you don’t have to remember to keep several messages with several relatives or worry about forgetting numbers etc.

Get In Touch

We hope that you have found our social media guides helpful and if you do have any suggestions for more social media guides then please let us know!

We're happy to let you know we're on Instagram and TikTok, so feel free to give us a follow!

We do also have a range of phones and electronics for sale on our website, to make life in the modern world a little easier.

You can take a look at them here and if you have any questions you would like answering then please do get in touch. You can call us for free on 0800 255 0498 or if you click on this button on our website you can have a live chat with our friendly customer service team.