Your life may revolve around your iPhone, but maybe your mom still uses her smartphone primarily for making calls. This Mother's Day, do your mom a favor — give her some help with the gadgets she already owns.
Make her an Instagram expert
One of the uses of Instagram is taking artistic photos of things you love. Say your mom is a gardener. She can take photos of her flowers, post them to Instagram and get compliments from her friends, family and other avid gardeners who use Instagram. Once you've set up her account and walked her through the app's editing process, you can add a few extra apps to add variety, such as PicFrame for making photo collages. [See also: How to Instagram Like a 15-year-old Girl ]
This package isn't complete until you add accounts for Mom to follow. Along with family members, track down several popular photographers on Instagram that share your mother's interests. And show her how to add hashtags (#floweroftheday) to make her photos searchable and how to use the "@" symbol when she wants to tag a friend.
Update her Facebook page
Could your mom's Facebook page use a refresh? Celebrate Mother's Day by adding a new cover photo to her page and updating her profile picture — in fact, you could take new photos at the family gathering and have her choose her favorite to post.
Update her Facebook contacts by organizing her friends into a few custom lists, such as "high school," "work" and by any clubs or organizations she belongs to. Show her how make a post that reaches specific lists. And, ask her if she needs to mute or remove friends. For tips on how to do this without hurting anyone's feelings, see How to Clean Up Your Facebook Friend List .
Find her favorite shows
She may already be subscribed to Netflix and Hulu Plus (if not, there's a good gift idea) — make sure she has the apps on her phone and tablet, as well as on the television with a Smart TV or a set-top box such as Roku. Many networks, including PBS and Lifetime, have launched their own apps over the past year, and make episodes available about 24 hours after they've aired.
Make a list of her favorite shows, find the apps that offer them and make a note to yourself to remind your mother when a show is about to expire. For instance, "Downton Abbey" is no longer available on the PBS app. The first two seasons can be viewed on Hulu Plus and the third season is available to buy from iTunes for $19.99.
Replace her bookmarks
Does your mom have a list of bookmarks a mile long? Set her up with an alternative that will make saving pages to read later a lot more useful. Instapaper is a simple app for iPhone, iPad, Android, the Kindle and Nook e-readers , and a button that can be added to her Web browser. The Web-based version is free, but the app costs $3.99.
Install Instapaper on your mother's devices. Let her know that regardless of which device she saves a page on, it will be stored in her Instapaper account, and she will be able to read offline — handy when there's no Internet connection available. Instapaper also lets users organize saved pages into folders, which will be useful for avid readers.
The family brunch may not be the best time to offer your tech expertise. Bring her flowers and a card that says she will receive several hours of tech wizardry — and then book it.
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