Concepts, Terms, and Mental Models: Everyday Challenges to Older Adult Social Media Adoption

  • Kelly QuinnEmail author
  • Renae Smith-Ray
  • Kristin Boulter
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9755)


Social connection and social support are strong predictors of well-being, but maintaining social relations often becomes more difficult at older ages. Because social media enhance feelings of connectedness and reduce feelings of loneliness, they may present accessible and relatively low cost mechanisms to enhance life quality at older ages. Using data gathered from two focus groups of potential older adult social media learners, we explored the physical and cognitive challenges to social media use, perceptions of social media benefits, and conceptual barriers to use. Findings support earlier studies that identify perceived benefit as important to social media adoption at older ages, and extend these by identifying that a lack in conceptual knowledge of these technologies is an additional barrier to use. We then discuss the cognitive implications of gaining this knowledge.


Older adults Social media Social connection Social support Perception of benefit 



The project described was supported by Grant Number P30AG022849 from the National Institute on Aging. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Aging or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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