Keeping in touch using a video call
Age UK's handy advice on how to video call with family, friends and other loved ones.
Social media and social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to stay connected – by chatting with family and friends or following public figures and organisations. You might even meet people with similar interests or hobbies.
Facebook is a popular social media platform. It allows you to create a personal profile where you can share your thoughts, pictures, videos and interests on your 'timeline' with your friends and family.
You'll also be able to see what others are posting, so it's a good way to keep in touch. You can also follow organisations and public figures to see their posts, and join local groups to find out about events happening nearby or to discuss community matters.
Follow these steps to create a Facebook account:
You can then add a profile picture and start connecting with friends and family. There are different ways to add friends on Facebook:
You can download Facebook as an app on your phone or tablet, as well as through an internet browser. Click here to find out more about how to download apps.
You can send messages to a friend or to a group of friends. These are only visible to the people in the conversation. To do this from the Facebook website on your internet browser:
If you want to send messages from your smartphone or tablet, you will need to download the Messenger app (from the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone, or the App Store if you have an iPhone).
To make phone or video calls on Facebook from a smartphone or tablet, you will need to download the Messenger app (from the Google Play Store if you have an Android phone, or the App Store if you have an iPhone).
Facebook is a great way to share photos with family and friends.
Using Facebook is a good way to find out what is going on locally. You might get invited to an event, which will give you the details of when and where an event is happening.
To find events that you might be interested in going to:
Facebook groups enable you to find people with similar interests or connect with people locally. If you’re already involved in local groups or activities, you might find they already have a Facebook group. They allow you to keep updated on topics and share information with a group of people, who you don't have to be Facebook friends with.
To join a group:
Instagram is a popular social media platform used for sharing photos and videos. It allows you to create a personal profile where you can share with friends and family on your 'Instagram feed' and see their posts, too – so it's a great way to see what everyone is getting up to and stay connected. Many public figures and organisations also have Instagram accounts that you can follow.
Instagram is designed to be used as an app for mobile phones and tablets. You can still access it through a web browser on a computer, but you might not be able to use all of its functions.
Follow these steps to set up an Instagram account:
Follow these steps to start connecting with friends and family by 'following' them:
Instagram is designed for you to share images with family and friends.
Once you are following friends and family on Instagram, their photos will appear on your feed. You can 'like' the photos by tapping on the heart symbol, and you can add a comment by tapping on the speech bubble symbol then typing your comment.
A hashtag is the symbol '#' and is used along with photos to connect an image to a particular topic. You can then search for images on this topic, for example, if you want to see posts about hobbies including #baking or #gardening, or about a certain place, for example, #London or #Cornwall.
Direct messages are a way of contacting people privately on Instagram. Only the person you're sending the message can read it. To send a message:
Twitter is another popular social networking site that enables you to create a profile and publish short public messages, known as 'tweets'. Twitter encourages public conversations, but you can hide your profile from anyone you don't follow and only use Twitter to chat with friends and family.
You can follow your friends and family, but you can also follow public figures and organisations which is a good way to keep up to date with recent events. You'll see tweets from anyone else on Twitter you choose to follow, and you may also see tweets that people you follow have liked or re-posted.
Twitter sets a 280-character limit for tweets (including letters, numbers and spaces), so you need to keep your tweets short and to the point.
To create a Twitter account, follow these steps:
To follow someone, either:
You can download Twitter as an app on your phone or tablet, as well as accessing it through an internet browser. Click here to find out more about how to download apps.
Twitter encourages public conversation – this means anyone can see what you write or reply to, but you can change your privacy settings. Read our tips below for more information.
To share your thoughts or updates with your followers or publicly on Twitter:
If you see a post that you think is interesting, funny or thought-provoking, you can click on the heart symbol below it to 'like' it.
You can add a comment by tapping on the speech bubble symbol then typing your comment. Unless your settings are private, everyone online will be able to see what you have sent in response.
You might see a post on your timeline that you want to share with people who follow you. Click on the 're-tweet’ symbol', which looks like two arrows, then select 're-tweet'.
A hashtag is the symbol '#' and is used before words or phrases in tweets. This helps people connect their tweets to a particular topic. You can then search for tweets on this topic, for example, if you want to see posts about a recent TV programme or news story.
A Twitter username is also known as a handle. It appears after the '@' sign in your profile. For example, Age UK's handle is @Age_UK. If you want to tag a person or organisation in a tweet, you can include their Twitter handle and they will get notified of the tweet.
Direct messages are a way of contacting people privately on Twitter. Only the person you're sending the message can read it. To send a message:
Twitter tends to be used for public conversation, and you might find it's easier to message friends and family using other apps including WhatsApp, Facebook, or through text message.
By default, your profile and posts are likely to be public, meaning anyone can see them. But you can change your settings to make it private.
To view and adjust your privacy settings at any time, follow these steps:
When you post updates or photos on Facebook, you can select the audience and privacy settings for the post before you share it. It's usually a good idea to keep these to 'friends only'.
You can adjust your privacy settings on Instagram so that only people who follow you can see what you post. If someone new wants to follow you, they'll have to send you a request that you can then approve or reject. Follow these steps to make your account private:
Twitter will make your tweets public by default, but you can protect them so that only people who follow you can see what you post. You'll still be able to see what everyone else posts.
Follow these steps to protect your tweets:
If you want to share photos and videos with friends and family members, but aren't sure whether you want a social media profile, then you could try the messaging app WhatsApp.
If you're looking to chat with new people online, you could always try using forums. There are plenty of them on the internet and many that might be more suited to you than others.
Gransnet online forums are designed for people over 50, covering lots of different topics. Click here to visit Gransnet here.
Many charities have their own forums where you can talk about specific issues that may be affecting you. For example:
Many of our local Age UKs provide computer and IT training, to make getting online straightforward and enjoyable.
We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.
Age UK's handy advice on how to video call with family, friends and other loved ones.
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