Imagine there was a social media and social network site for people who hate it.
You would open up your laptop, with a big smile on your face, and click on the social network’s homepage. You’d then log on, create a profile, upload a picture, put in your favourite movies, bands and favourite quotes, update your status and then when you’re done, nothing would happen. You’d click ‘approve’, but the coding for the site would be designed in a way that all the work you did making your profile would be instantly voided and all the data you entered and pictures you uploaded would be scrambled and deleted the second you clicked it. However, you’d still have a profile.
You’d be given an arbitrary name, say, ‘Earth person ID#4,899,762,121’, and then absolutely no one on the planet would be able to see that it’s you, see any of your details or even see your name. And you wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone else on it either.
You could try to click on a random profile, say, ‘Earth person ID#4,876,762,113’ (the profile names would be based on estimated birth order of all the people currently alive on Earth, so if you guessed around your number, it would be someone around your age – your chances of it being a friend of yours would increase from 1 in 7 billion to, you know, to about 1 in a hundred thousand or something). This would be Earth Person ID#4,876,762,113’s (and everyone else’s) profile pic:
You could try your luck and contact this person, but you’d have no idea who it was, and even then it wouldn’t matter because when you tried clicking on ‘Send Earth Person ID#4,876,762,113 a Message’ an error message would show up that said ‘SORRY – That doesn’t work. Goodbye.’
It could be called Noname Book or Nofacespace. And when people asked you, ‘Hey dude, are you on Nofacespace?’ You could reply, ‘Sure am!’ Then they’d say, ‘Cool, me too. So I won’t see ya there.’ And you could say back, ‘Sounds good.’
But then, I guess, what would be the point of the whole thing?
Now that most people have at least a Facebook, as well as a number of other social media profiles, and ‘having a Facebook’ is just like having a phone, or a home address, is it possible to be successful without embracing Social Media? Is there a correlation between how many outlets you use and are good at and ‘Career success’?
When everything in print media started going online, there were journalists who complained about having to adapt to the new ways things were being done. They didn’t like change as well as new technology. What some of them heard back was a quote made famous by former US Military General Eric Shinseki: ‘If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more.’
Is that kind of what will happen to people who dislike Social Media?
My friend Matt deleted his Facebook account in about January or February 2014. And a few months later, I was at home, on a 2-hour lunch break (from a job I detested), and I spent 40 minutes of that precious time looking at Facebook photos of a guy I used to know (his name’s Will), who I hadn’t spoken to in years but who always had cool photos of his travels. I felt like an asshole. Why wouldn’t I just write to him, or maybe even try calling him, instead of creeping on his photos? I deleted my account right then and there. I have a twitter account but I use it mostly for contacting overseas friends whose email I don’t have. I haven’t opened my Instagram account in a couple years. I do use Whatsapp though, which kind of still counts as social networking. And I do have a twitter account for this site, but click on it, you’ll see it’s about as entertaining, colourful and interactive as a plastic bag that’s been tossed into a puddle of muddy water.
What about its effect on your social life? I have two or three friends I consider brothers. And seven or eight others who are like family, who I’d do anything for. But one of the things I love most is being down the beach with my dog Chunky. And maybe it’s the result of growing up an only child (Pretty much – I only lived with my brother from the ages of 6-9), but I love my time alone. I’ll take watching sports, reading a book or being at the beach over going out, every time. So if I’m not that social in person, why would I need a social media account?
Although having an aversion to social media may make you less employable in certain industries, if you don’t like it, the amount of time saved on trying to get better at it is well worth it. As long as the time saved from not being on Facebook is used for something more enjoyable, more productive, more tangible or more authentic.