Many see social media as a way to connect with old friends, former classmates and distant relatives. However, social media includes a variety of online technologies including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, personal blogs and other technology. The social networking service Facebook was originally limited to students at Harvard University. It soon expanded to include other universities and eventually to members of all ages. By January 2011, Facebook had more than 600 million members.
Family members of all ages have Facebook accounts although the website requires members to be at least 13 years old. Approximately 60 percent of Facebook members are over the age of 35. Studies show that older adults may benefit from having a Facebook account. Staying connected with busy family members can lessen depression and loneliness. Internet use stimulates the brain and keeps elderly adults mentally young.
In addition to status updates that keep us in touch with our friends and families, Facebook has become an effective way to share beneficial information. Although LSU AgCenter staff will continue to write newspaper articles, present educational programs and publish fact sheets, they have also begun using Facebook to educate and inform their clientele. Extension Agents use Facebook posts to announce upcoming events and workshops. Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents post links to parenting and nutrition websites. County Agents share information about crop production practices and home gardens . 4-H Agents recognize youth that participate in contests and publicize fundraising projects.
A new Facebook fan page, Richland Extension Children & Families, has been established to share topics of interest to family members of all ages. All Facebook users are encouraged to become fans. Parents and child care providers will find an article on managing temper tantrums. Older adults will find information on aging well. Access to the Children & Families fan page is not limited to Richland Parish residents. Many of the posts are of interest to families everywhere.
Other LSU AgCenter Facebook pages created for Richland Parish residents are Richland Extension, a general information site, and Richland Parish Fourh, for 4-H members, leaders and parents. Contact the LSU AgCenter office at 318-728-3216 for more information about any of these pages.
Danna Gillett is the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent for Richland Parish.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture