Senior Spotlight: Meet 90 Year-Old Instagram Star Helen

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It’s an undisputed fact that certain age groups favor certain social media platforms. Facebook is known to be used by those mid-thirties and older, while Instagram is oft-favored by millennials and younger. Yet high school students are known to prefer Snapchat. But there are times in life when it is all about breaking all the rules… and we happen to think you should do what speaks to YOU – any day at any age. That is why we are in awe of Helen Ruth Elam Van Winkle.

At age 90, Helen is a retired factory worker in Kentucky who is also known as @baddiewinkle. That’s her Instagram name… as her 3.8 million followers know. As a vibrant fashion trendsetter and ‘all-around provocateur’, she was recently featured at an AARP-sponsored panel at South by Southwest as one of the most popular and inspiring 50-plus social media figures.

Her message has something in it for everyone:  “Have a good time in your life. Spend time with your children, your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren, because they can teach you a lot. When I got into the Instagram business, I didn’t know a thing, but now I learn something new every single day.”

While Helen may be a famed exception to the social media trends… we see nothing wrong with breaking all the rules, especially if it makes you happy! Not every older adult uses social media every day, but AARP Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Martha Boudreau reports that 100 million people aged 50 and older use social media at least once a month (that’s 73%!). Boudreau believes that it’s all about “harnessing the power of platforms to talk about our life stories.”

While not every one of us is destined for IG fame… we can and should use social media if and how it makes us happy! Whether to keep up with loved ones, inspire others with your life story, give great tips about a hobby or just relate to someone – there is great power in the connectivity of social platforms. You don’t have to be a world renowned influencer to influence someone in an immeasurable way – and you certainly don’t need to follow any ‘rules’ about who should use what social space. Many people tell me the best thing about aging is not caring so much about what other people think – and I am definitely starting to agree!

Resource Used: How to Be a Social Influencer, No Matter Your Age

All my best,


Bobbi Decker, SRES®, CIPS®
Broker Associate, Today Sotheby’s International Realty
Bobbi Decker & Associates
BRE 00607999
p. 650.346.5352

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