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Embracing social media

KHOU anchor Lily Jang sheds light on Facebook and Twitter

Created date

November 26th, 2013

Eagle s Traceresident Sam Power signed up for a Facebook account three years ago when his then 16-year-old granddaughter told him he needed to check the social media site if he wanted to keep up with her. She s 19 now and a sophomore at Texas A&M University, says Sam. I still use Facebook to see how she s doing. Sam is part of a growing wave of seniors embracing social media. A new survey by the Pew Research Center s Internet & American Life Project revealed those 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites in the last four years from 13% in 2009 to 43% in 2013. I keep up with friends and former work associates through Facebook, says Sam, who retired in 1992 as a project manager for a company that built computer-based control equipment for electric utilities. Computers were still relatively big and expensive when I retired, but I knew they were here to stay. Sam estimates he s upgraded his computer every three years. Recently, he added a 7-inch tablet to his inventory and says a new smartphone is on the horizon. I don t have a smartphone yet, says Sam. But I will.

Expert instruction

Sam s interest in the ever-changing world of technology recently landed him in the audience for a presentation on Facebook and Twitter by KHOU anchor Lily Jang. Jang, a Houston native who s been recognized twice byThe Huffington Postas a social media powerhouse, shared with Eagle s Trace residents how social media is changing the news industry. My job has changed from news anchor to multimedia journalist, Jang said during her presentation. I can send breaking news out to the masses via Twitter before we re live on the air. Jang, who signed up for a Twitter account in 2009, now has more than 35,000 followers on the social media site. What you write on social media spreads like wildfire, said Jang. It allows you to pass along information more quickly than any other method. Jang added that social media makes it easier for her to interact with viewers. News was a one-way street five years ago, she said. Viewers couldn t engage with me. Now they can respond via social media.

Valuable tools when used wisely

When Jang opened up the floor to questions, resident Jim Walthall asked about the downsides of social media. Obviously, you have to be sure you ve got the right information, Jang said. You don t want rogue information going viral. Jang also recommended checking the privacy settings on any social media account. You have to make sure that you ve identified who you want to see your posts, she said Most non-public people just want to share with family and friends, so adjust your privacy settings to reflect that. Still, with the proper precautions, Jang says Facebook and Twitter can be an invaluable resource at any age. People love to interact, said Jang. Social media provides that opportunity.