If Ivy Bean can master Twitter, so can we

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Did anyone else get a kick out of last week's story about Ivy Bean, the Twitter user who died at the age of 104?

It's a great one for so many reasons. First, it shows that you're never too old to use social networking technology—even if you were born before the telephone was invented. I mean, here's a woman who had 5,000 Facebook friends and more than 57,000 followers on Twitter. She didn't let this newfangled technology intimidate her!

As someone in the communications field, to me it also refreshingly shows the value of social technology. Take a look at Bean's posts and you'll see a document revealing the life of a nursing home resident. (Since her death, staff from the facility has been managing her account.) If it were not for Twitter, how would we get to know someone like Bean? It not only brings the world closer but also helps to change people's perceptions of aging.   

Here are a couple of her tweets:

“Oh what a loverly day this is i have had a big bunch of flowers sent from lesley in australia they are loverly thank you very much” 6:13 AM Jun 29th via web

“pat says we have to drink more because of rhe hot weather and its just juice but some have had a drink of lager while sat in the garden” 9:34 AM May 24th via web

Finally, the story is cool because it is inspiring. Her tweets are both sweet and funny. Here is a woman whose sense of humor and enjoyment of life was clearly contagious—or viral, as the case may be.

Judging from Bean's case, it seems like a good idea for more nursing home residents to have Twitter accounts. It exposes them to the world around them and helps them stay socially connected. If caregivers are looking for a wonderful new way to engage residents, this might be it. If you haven't done so, go check out her account at http://twitter.com/IvyBean104.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.