Home » » Social media and senior citizen advocacy: an inclusive tool to resist ageism?
With population aging, interest groups demand that governments act to prevent a perceived financial crisis. Senior citizens remain frustrated in their efforts to influence the response of policy-makers. In an effort to strengthen their voice, one group of senior citizens, engaged in a participatory action research project, questioned how online social media could be used in their advocacy efforts. This query led to an examination of the literature with the primary objective of determining what is known about the use of social media by senior citizens for the purposes of social advocacy. The outcomes of the review revealed that very few studies specifically examined this question. Senior citizen online roles were depicted as consumers of health information or socializers with family and friends. Ageist assumptions informed the design of computer hardware, online formats and norms for social engagement. Senior citizens have concerns about the trustworthiness of social networking sites and while social media can exclude senior citizens from public debate, the authors conclude that the pressing issue is to focus on age-friendly design and supports. With these in place, social media can provide a venue for senior citizens to challenge ageism and influence public policy discourses.