Digital technology is now part of our daily lives and central to how we communicate and stay connected to each other socially and as a community. It’s hard to believe that it was only in 1993 at a conference in Switzerland that the World Wide Web was officially launched by its inventor Sir Timothy Berners-Lee. I wonder if even the forward thinking Sir Timothy – who had invented it in 1989 – imagined on that day the possibilities his invention would have in the years ahead and the reach it would have into our daily lives.
Could he have imagined we would be shopping from the comfort of our lounge rooms, be connected in seconds to family and friends across the world on Skype, be banking online, studying courses online at institutions we have never physically visited and have access to information at the click of a mouse?
Of course since 1989 our language has changed too. A mouse is no longer restricted to the four-legged kind, tweeting is no longer just the communication of birds and an apple is also a phone. New words and acronyms have also joined our daily vernacular; internet, LOL, Skype, Facebook, texting, Google, email, broadband, to name some.
Of course, just as with the rest of our lives, there are some risks to be managed. We get worried when we think of some of the negatives technology has helped facilitate, such as online bullying and rip-off scams or privacy concerns, but for many Victorian seniors the digital world offers the opportunity for engagement, to stay connected with loved ones, to obtain information, do banking or shopping from home and so on.
As Commissioner for Senior Victorians my objective is to continue to find the most effective ways to communicate with as many seniors as possible, and I am very pleased to say that for those seniors who are already actively engaged with digital or social media, or would like to do so, my Facebook page is now up and running – helping me to connect with you and send you much more regular information.
For those who are not active users of digital technology, I will continue to use a variety of methods to communicate with you to ensure you have the latest information on healthy and meaningful ageing, as well as the latest information on all the many activities, services, support and programs for senior Victorians.
And if like me when I first started, you need a few simple tips on how to get in to social media or use Facebook there are a variety of options available. Many local libraries offer technology training courses, as well as neighbourhood houses, U3As, Men’s Sheds, Life Activities Clubs, seniors citizens groups and so on.
There are also Tech Savvy Seniors self-teach video guides on Seniors Online:
Social Networking Overview
Facebook Creating an account
And of course connect with me on Facebook
Commissioner for Senior Victorians
Gerard Mansour is a passionate advocate for the rights and needs of older Victorians, with more than 25 years’ experience working in the aged and wider community service sectors. He has contributed significantly to policy development and implementation for myriad services assisting senior Victorians. Go to Gerard's home page.