The January meeting of SNUG, Seniors Networking Users Group, was called to order at 1:30 p.m. by Vice President, David Henry.    

He announced the February meeting date for SNUG had to be changed to February 7, 2014, the first Friday of the month, at the usual time of 1 to 3:00 p.m. due to an OLLI anniversary social event scheduled on February 14 at noon at the Centro Asturiano in Ybor City.

“Thanks” were expressed to Richard Kirk and Jim Kaehler for the set-up of the refreshment tables and to the following members who brought refreshments for this meeting:  Bill Swartz, Tiki Kirk, Cecelia Vance, Kathy Randazzo, Rose Terenzi, Ray Garcia, Bernice Stephenson (guest)  and  Macalyne Fristoe. 

Seventeen first-time attendees and guests were introduced as follows:

Richard Cooper, Ken Kotecha, Linda Harre, Sara Tillis, Kathy Hanscom, Dana Melnick, Carol Dietrich, Don Hogue, Lorraine Smith, Michelle Luft, Rose Killinger, Bernice Stephenson, Jerome Murray, Vivian Wilson, Rita Bell, Trev Wunderlin  and Janet Barber.  

No members were reported on the sick list.

Sherry Foecking asked for those members experienced with the Android to volunteer as instructors for classes in that particular area of interest.

The main speaker was Dr. Ara Rogers who then spoke about Facebook; why it is useful to organizations such as OLLI, and the common concerns older adults have about Facebook – privacy and security. Facebook has 1.2 billion active users at this time. About 120 million users live in the United States; the rest live around the world, including 87 million Chinese users. This, despite the fact that the Chinese government blocks Facebook!

The popularity of Facebook is what makes it valuable to its stockholders, but also what makes it valuable to businesses and organizations, who must keep finding new ways to reach customers.

For organizations like OLLI, Facebook is a great way to let others know about us. We already know that member recommendations are an important recruiting tool for OLLI. Facebook allows OLLI members who have liked the OLLI page to spread the word to their friends, just by liking, sharing or commenting on the information posted to that page.

She stated according to Facebook, the most popular topics globally in 2013 were  the Super Bowl (in the U.S.) and Pope Francis. Facebook is growing fastest among older adults, and has several demonstrated benefits to them: it boosts performance on tasks involving memory and also helps boost social support. Social support – the number of people who know you and care about you — is a key indicator of healthy aging.

Facebook allows you to set the audience who can see information about you and what you post. Security is a valid concern, but this concern should not be limited just to Facebook: going on the internet exposes you to being tracked by 3rd party data mining organizations. So surf wisely!

Tips for Facebook users:    

  1. Decide how large of a social network you wish to have. Don’t friend people you do not know!
  2. Decide how open you want to be about your thoughts and opinions on Facebook. Remember that once you press “enter,” you lose control of the information you post.
  3. Understand your privacy settings. The safest setting is only “friends.”
  4. Be cautious when signing on to 3rd party apps (games, for instance, or the popular “Birthdays” app. They may not have the same standards for personal data use that Facebook has.
  5. Become familiar with Facebook’s excellent help section, which can be found by clicking on the cog located on the blue Facebook banner. Facebook has terrific information about protecting yourself online and how-to videos.