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Trying to Connect?...Tips for Bridging the Digital Divide!

In a time of social distance, how do we connect with each other? For many, the often frustrating solution has been to rely on technology.

Witness the proliferation of zoom meetings, phone calls and all kinds of different calling and texting applications.

Many of the ways we were supposed to connect during this pandemic have become obstacles. A lack of information technology skills quickly creates confusion and distress.

There are small steps that you can use to bolster your abilities to communicate digitally, all while moving at your own pace. To really get "online," it is important to learn what platforms you enjoy, go through some digital literacy training, and find your favorite way to navigate the wild, wild web.

It seems as if a new program pops up daily during the last year. If you were a dedicated Zoom user who was suddenly forced to download Microsoft Teams, you might find yourself lost in a totally new interface.

Instead, why not take charge and learn about what platforms work best for you? Don’t get swept up into everyone else’s suggestions, take the reins and let people know your preferences.

Don't fret, you name it...YouTube has the lesson!

Taking the time to research platforms and what they do will help you get a handle on the latest apps.

Is texting easier for you? Maybe you only want to do video calls from your phone? Perhaps you want to be able to send certain articles over by email for family to discuss.

Knowing which apps to use and when will help cut down on overwhelming selections.

Your own interests can help you determine which platforms you would enjoy more! Are you the family photographer and love sharing pictures of your coffee, kids, and a nice sunset? Instagram might be the way for you!

Want to share articles, videos and get in long discussions with like-minded people? The "groups" feature of Facebook could be a great way to make new friends during the Rona lock down.

Most social media platforms allow picture and text, but what is prioritized on the platform can really change your experience and level of enjoyment.

When venturing online for your maiden or new voyage, remember that not all is, as it seems.

Social media is known for being a little tricky. Joke/satire articles, altered photos abound!

And, expect to find plenty of less-than-truthful (lies) stuff. In fact, on most legitimate websites, we are prodded by a little dialog box that asks: to prove that I'm human and not a bot. A computer is verifying your human!

Strange and/or fake videos are scattered in every nook and cranny of the web.

Remaining vigilant and developing the keen eye of a denizen of the internet is important because not all information is created equal.

There are some good "fact check" sites that can help lessen your fears. Like: Snopes, Breaking News Consumer Handbook: Fake News Edition, Washington Post Fact Checker, and Politifact. Look them up whenever you want to verify what your gut is telling you!

Most children, at the dawn of the internet age quickly learned that every stranger on the internet was a danger.

They also learned that over consumption of the computer could be dangerous and unhealthy too.

That led to a generation of savvy users who quickly learned to cut through the smoke & mirrors offered on many platforms. The digital generations (1980's to present) were upon us.

However, it seems when our parents (even our esteemed editor) hop onto applications, they take too-few-minutes to acclimate to the environment where trouble waits. All of us are guilty of sharing something – we thought was true – that later turned out to be a joke or fake. Learning how to “look it up” is an important element of internet survival.

Think of the world of social media and the web as a country, with a language and behaviors you must slowly learn. And, like any language, it is easier to learn by immersion! Now that you are on the platform, you’re feeling comfortable with the way things operate. But do you find yourself unfulfilled?

You see everyone sharing (posting stuff) and don’t seem to know how to be involved. Passively consuming content can oftentimes feel less engaging and lead us to feeling even more isolated. We scroll by at glossy profiles and feel like we’re not quite in the party. So why not reach out!

If you see something you like, let someone know! Chat with other fans, share some memories! If you feel bold enough, create some of your own content! You, as a person, have a wealth of information, experience, and happiness to share. Actively engaging on those platforms helps integrate you into a community.

At its core, the internet is a place where you can gather people from all over with a similar interest, to enjoy and support each other. Share snippets of info or even more!

Social media and technology in general have long been mistrusted and misunderstood by "Older Generations."

PuroChisme believes, "OG's" can benefit from the opportunity to find friends and commune online with loved ones.

OG's life perspectives, histories and experiences can, in fact, elevate the current online experience for everyone.

Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through the building of virtual networks and communities. Accordingly, it offers a way for multiple generations to connect and consider each other as equals.

With a level playing field – via the internet – what wonderful collaborations and ideas can you bring to life and share with the world? So what are you waiting for "Click On!"


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