I know there are lots of social media tools beyond Facebook and Twitter that people are using that I should know about. But who has the time? That's why I like TechBoomers. They currently offer over 100 free courses composed of over 1,000 video and article tutorials.
TechBoomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular websites and apps. That means their courses are simple to digest and understand. It also makes TechBoomers a great resource for library staff and patrons to quickly find out how to use things like Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Plus, all their content is Creative Commons licensed, which means you are free to reuse it in your own technology training for patrons or staff!
Each TechBoomers course explains in plain language what each app does. Here is how they describe Snapchat.
"Snapchat is a social messaging application for mobile devices that allows the exchange of stylized photos or videos ('snaps'), as well as text messages ('chats'). Snapchat's defining feature is that the majority of its content deletes itself after being viewed and/or after a relatively short amount of time.
"Snapchat is mostly used by younger people, such as high school students or college/university students. However, it is becoming popular among older generations as well, as a way to more privately share messages and pictures with their loved ones."
The Snapchat course then moves on to show, mostly in pictures, how to use the app, including how to install it, create an account, log in, and then create your first snaps and chats.
Here is the kind of language they use.
1. Open Snapchat and log in (if you haven't already).
2. Press the large button at the bottom-middle portion of the main screen.
If you tap this button, Snapchat will take a picture. If you hold it, Snapchat will record a video until you release the button.
The course gets into fancier features like adding a caption or emoji to your snap, adding friends, and adjusting privacy controls.
As in its other courses, TechBoomers includes a section on how the company makes its money (online ads) and how to delete an account should you despair of oversharing on social media.
TechBoomers introduces their Pinterest course like this:
"Have you ever kept a collection of interesting things in a scrapbook, on a bulletin board, or perhaps on your fridge door?... Pinterest.com is like the Internet's version of that... a website that lets you find, collect, and organize interesting image-based things... It does this through a series of user-created categories, called 'boards,' and a series of visual bookmarks, known as 'pins.'"
Pinterest is not as easy to "get" as some other tools, so TechBoomers explains that people use it to show off things that they like or find inspiration for art or decorating or discovering interesting travel destinations.
I particularly like how TechBoomers steps viewers through creating a board and also how to add pins from other websites to your board. I always found that a bit baffling — up to now.
Facebook's Instagram is the other biggie in social photo and video sharing using mobile devices.
TechBoomers' Instagram course gets directly to the point by identifying five of Instagram's coolest functions, including its ease of finding people to follow, its integrated use of hashtags to follow topics, and its ability to edit photos and videos directly on your phone before uploading them.
Their How to Use Instragram tutorial is in the simplest possible step-by-step format using pictures and plain language.
TechBoomers Wants You to Steal Their Stuff (Really!)
TechBoomers' founder, Steve Black, told me that empowering libraries that teach technology through classes and one-on-one training is "a big part" of his mission.
That is one reason all the TechBoomers tutorials are;Creative Commons-licensed. Steve says,
"I invite librarians around the world to leverage the website's free tutorials however they like in their digital literacy programs."
Hundreds of libraries are already using these tutorials in various ways and are adding TechBoomers.com as a useful resource on their library’s website.
These are just four of TechBoomers' social media courses. They have a lot more for your patrons and staff. Check out all of their social media courses.
You can also learn more about TechBoomers and other digital literacy training resources in TechSoup's technology training resources webinar:
[Editor's note: this article was modified on November 8 to remove a section on Vine tutorials.]