THINK you're too old for social media? Dorset's library service wants to prove you wrong.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and other social networking sites have now become a trusted communication tool for seniors.

A recent study by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom shows that the number of 55 to 64-year-old internet users creating a social network profile rose by almost half last year.

More than six in 10 (64 per cent) of those aged over 55 who have a social network profile use it to contact friends and family they seldom see.

This year, Dorset Library Service has teamed up with Age UK Dorchester and Age UK Bournemouth to tackle the problem of social isolation and loneliness for older residents in Dorset, connecting them to an online community of peers.

A series of events to demonstrate how easy social media can be will be taking place in libraries across the county in August and September. Basic computer literacy is also on offer.

Most social networking sites are free so there is no cost involved in signing up to find out more about a site.

Recent research by Exeter University found that pensioners who spend time online do not feel as lonely as others their age, which could stunt deterioration of physical and mental health.

The survey also concluded that older people should use Facebook and other social media websites to prevent their health declining.

Tracy Long, Dorset County Council’s library service manager, said: “Social networking sites for older people can be a wonderful way to meet and share information with like-minded people. More and more older adults are proving that every day.

“Older people say they find social media a great way to stay in touch with their younger family members and follow their lives online.” For those who don’t have a PC at home, the library offer free internet access.”

If it all feels like a bit of a mystery but you’d like to learn more about connecting with people online, come and find out more at a library near you:

Sessions take place as follows:

Weymouth Aug 14 10am-1pm

Wareham Aug 20 10am-1pm

Dorchester Sept 8 10am-1pm

Blandford Sept 18 10am-1pm

Ferndown Sept 22 1pm-4pm

Bridport Sept 23 2pm-5pm

Verwood Sept 25 1pm-4pm

Gillingham Oct 1 1pm-4pm


t: 01305 830995


twitter: @DorsetEchoSam