Are You 'Weird' If You Don't Use Social Media?

Are You 'Weird' If You Don't Use Social Media?

I shared a spoof video last week about a girl who is freaked out because her new boyfriend didn't use any form of social media. It was intentionally hilarious but on a more serious note it also made me think about whether people who do use social media really do think that those who don't are oddballs...

In case you haven't seen the video the basic premise is that a girl discovers that her apparently perfect new squeeze isn't on Facebook and is immediately labelled #antisocial. Terrified she can't scope his profile, she enlists the assistance of her (equally paranoid) pals to dig up the dirt on the new boyf, only to discover that he has no social footprint whatsoever - not even a MySpace page. Cue gags about finding a photo album under his bed (the pictures have "no comments") and asking him how he shares his opinions (he apparently "talks" to people). She stresses about how he can send her "dick pics" or if she wants to send him a nice shot of her boobs, whilst her friends are concerned he is "reverse catfishing" her.

The video makes me believe that he is actually the only sane one amongst them and the socially active lunatics have taken over the asylum. And after scouring the likes of Quora and Reddit for some real life opinions I can only conclude that people who don't use social media are, at best, considered to be mavericks or, at worst, some kind of psychopath. They are somehow not to be trusted because they are loners who don't wish to share details of the latest sandwich they are about to eat. They are unjustly pilloried for not wishing to tell everyone about their last bowel movement and for keeping their private lives, well, private.

Now, I am pretty prolific on social media (and I'm guessing you might be too if you are reading this) but I genuinely don't have any negative feelings to those people who don't wish to participate in the social media circus. One of my closest pals chooses to abstain from all forms of social interaction online. He is smart, funny and gregarious so it isn't like he has nothing interesting to impart. He is also not a technophobe either given that he has worked in the tech industry for his entire career, so he certainly isn't a luddite. He just doesn't feel the need to divulge every aspect of his life with friends and family - he would rather have a chat, face-to-face if possible and if not then via a good old fashioned phone call. And, let's be honest, is there anything wrong with that?

Eschewing social media, it seems, also draws accusations of aloofness in the same way that some people brag about not having a television (like it's something which is beneath them). I know these people exist (because I have met a few of these odious imbeciles) but they are very much in the minority. Most of the people that I have met who refrain from having a social media presence do so because they simply want to keep it real. So what do I mean by that? Well let's be honest here, most of what we see on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc. is not a true representation of peoples lives. It's an airbrushed caricature of reality - all the good bits of peoples lives are included with all the real life sh*t conveniently edited out (and before you ask, yes, I am just as guilty as the next man).

Most of us want to portray ourselves in the best possible light to our nearest and dearest. Photos for example - you will only ever upload a picture if you think you look decent in it and delete any that you are tagged in if you don't approve of the shot (go on, admit it, I know I do). I ran a mini experiment on Facebook recently by running a few photos of myself that were (to say the least) unflattering. The response I got was interesting - the comments I received were that I looked like a simpleton (harsh but fair). It's hardly a statistically robust study but it did demonstrate to me that people don't expect anything but perfection on platforms such as Facebook. And I think that is way weirder than not being on social media at all.

So what do you think? Are those who don't use social media some kind of freak? Are they really deranged misanthropes who are plotting to murder you? Or are these people really on to something? Have they realised that social media is largely superfluous and there are better things in life to spend your time on instead of wasting it sharing another cat video? As ever, I am keen to hear your thoughts...

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  • Jade Scott

    Personally I don't feel the need to make my personal life others people’s business.

  • Ben Koardall

    I think very highly of people who don’t use social media.

  • Ilan Miguel

    Good read thanks for sharing !

  • Sam Nelson

    I don't need social media to be happy. There are an infinite number of things people can choose to do with their precious time.

  • Tracy Russell

    LinkedIn is the only social media site I use, but it is very different than Facebook because it focuses on topics, not people.

  • Paris Williamson

    Social media is about the gamification of self.

  • Poke123

    Some people just don’t like to post what they eat what they doing that doesn’t mean they are loners in fact some people are more social than those on media show popular they are and got many followers may be more lonely than those that don’t use social media this is just solely my opinion

  • Reeee

    In reply to: Poke123

    You type like you've sustained a traumatic brain injury.

  • Nora

    I've noticed a very real feeling of isolation due to my social media absence. My nearest and dearest relationships haven't changed bc they were always based in the tangible world. But 2nd or 3rd degree friendships no longer exist for me. I'm 50/50 on whether this is a good thing or not. Some days its refreshing. Some days its an overwhelming sense of rejection.

  • Malani

    I don't use social because i'm not interested, it's makes people addicted to it, people forget communicate face to face and makes us being fake and we don't have any secrets because social becomes our diary.....

  • Elizabeth Carson-Bird

    I do have a social media presence, but not much. I have forgotten my password for all four of my defunct face book accounts to the extent that I don't even know how to post on face book anymore. I have never had a twitter account. I do answer such interesting sites as the one I am on, but only when I have a few spare minutes and stumble across the site. It is usually months to even years old. And, then it may be so old, the comment section is closed. I have a very old linked-in account that is not updated and never visited. I have a job, take care of a mini farm and have a disabled husband. My alone time is therefore very precious to me. There may be more folks out there just like me who feel that social media is just not that important. What I do for fun is everything from playing my flute in a community band to singing in the church choir. I don't have time for much of social media, but for those who do, go for it.:)

  • simon

    Cant be arsed with it

  • Ruby

    I enjoyed reading your article. I always wonder what people think of the fact that I am not on social media and never have been. To be fair, I dont hate social media, it was just never something I was interested in. Growing up I had a friend that was very competitive. I tried everything I could to not participate, but found that eventually I would always give into the game. Even when I came out on top, it still felt bad.
    As an adult I just feel that some people have blurred the lines about personal privacy in order to understand how I fit on the measuring stick. Because I don’t post online, I have had “friends” drive past my house to keep on eye on our home renovation. When I stopped them one day she said “oh you caught me”. I have had friends have their friends break into my kids school records because they wanted to discuss who got the best teachers. High school friends who “Like” the horrible sweaty picture of me my sister posted so it would show up in their feed, commenting about how cute my kids were. Funny they didn’t “like” the picture Of my cute kids! And I have had a distant co-worker look up my house in tax records. These types of actions are what keep me away. Like your friend, I am not a crazy murder, I just don’t want to compete. I believe there is room for everyone to succeed at what makes them happy, and it’s NOT the same thing for everyone. Thank you for the article. I feel slightly less crazy, and do understand that social media isn’t bad, it just depends on who and how they are using it.

  • B

    So I’m not on social media, and tbh, my life is much less stressful and complicated because of it blah blah blah... it’s great, don’t miss it. BUT the thing that bothers me is that while I contently refrain from participating, it seems others who aren’t used to someone they can’t stalk online do seem to go a little crazy. Honestly I haven’t seen the video referenced, but that actually sounds fairly accurate. No joke. It seems like aquaintances and coworkers feel strongly entitled to know about my life, which is creepy, but what pushes this even farther is that THEY WONT JUST ASK ME. They would apparently much rather talk about me and speculate about my life behind my back. I mean, what, am I back in high school? That’s not how you make REAL friends. Seriously, it makes me not want to be friends with you. I’m a nice person, so can we not communicate like fully functioning human beings? Likeee I’m successful and happy and I don’t have time for these crazy people with nothing better to do than selfishly ‘worry’ about other’s lives. I honestly think this worldwide social obsession is going to limit a bunch of these people in the long run because instead of focusing on themselves and their own progress, they’re wasting time uselessly obsessing over others. Tend your own garden! ..It’s seriously as if everyone forgot how to communicate without a screen, and it all speaks endlessly about the current human condition. But I think what really bothers my coworkers is that I’m cute, I have a cute boyfriend, and a cute dog, cute clothes, and a cute house. I’m killin’ it. So they wonder why I don’t want to show off and seem to assume there’s something wrong with me. And I guess there just MUST be, because if THEY were me their ego would apparently skyrocket out of their own heads and run a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all on its own. Sadly this cultural phenomenon is slowly shaping society, and I’m actually worried for us. So what if I’m cute and good at life, that does NOT mean I owe you pictures to ogle!! Ya bunch of creeps.

  • Sinkiy

    I had a Facebook 12 years ago and MySpace. I closed them over a decade ago and I have never signed up for any social media since. I feel free and I never have to worry about what others think or what I think about others. I remember the jealousy, envy, hate and love that came with social media and I hated it.

  • Pedro Mojon Bichos

    I cherish my privacy and i have a less than "zero" desire to ever put my life on display for the whole world to see. The whole idea of putting your picture and your positive ID on a public internet site seems like one huge security breach which opens yourself to id theft, cyberbullying and possible physical bullying and physical harm.

  • Tawm

    After Cambridge Analytica last year, I deleted all my social media accounts and haven't looked back. I was probably going to facebook and instagram several times a day and posting 2 to 3 times a week with a couple hundred "friends". I unfriended everyone from my accounts and then deleted them all. After about a month I felt less stressed about all the garbage I would see on social media that my "friends" were posting. There were posts of people bragging a lot. Also, posting a picture of the food people were about to eat, kinda creeped me out. It would be like if I took a photo of my sandwich and sent it through postal service to 200 of my not so closest friends with a caption that reads, "this was so yummy". Kinda strange. The whole social media thing is strange and it's weird that people actually just accept everything they see on social media as socially acceptable behavior. I tried to block people and unfriend some, but after Cambridge Analytica I decided to just delete it all.

  • Harriet

    In reply to: Tawm

    To tawm: your post was so funny ". It would be like if I took a photo of my sandwich and sent it through postal service to 200 of my not so closest friends with a caption that reads, "this was so yummy". Kinda strange." I literally laughed out loud til I had tears rolling. I feel exactly as you do. I've never had any social media and was wondering what others really thought of that because I've gotten some strange (even hostile) looks when people find out. I do like to surf the net sometimes. Kinda like paging through magazine articles.

  • Charmaine

    I used to be on, but I felt like I was selling myself short. I was on because everyone was on...then I realized how juvenile I was because if the whole world jumped in the fire, why should I?
    I got tired of what I couldn’t say better myself, Karl Lagerfeld’s description of selfies - “electronic masturbation.” I cannot stomach people’s vanity and especially was disillusioned by close friends and family who became narcissists. What I see online infuriates me often because of all the hate and silliness. I wasted so much time following posts and neglecting my daughter, that one day I had to catch a wake up. Not to say that social media is all bad - but for me who is unbalanced - it was a problem. Other people can and do use it for good because they have self-control; I don’t. I don’t need to be a sheep and follow the crowd. Instead I choose to spend family time the old school way, not having fake conversations online with people who pass me in the street in real life like I am invisible and rather call on the phone and sometimes send letters via snail mail. What’s wrong with pretending I am back in 1989 when life was simple?

  • Ann

    I am one of those people who went without a TV for a long time, and actually liked it. But then I found I needed one again and got one. Actually not watching it so much as I have found a lot to watch on youtube or putlocker. As for social media, I do tend to admire people who don't go on social media. I think there lives much be much less cluttered with nonsense. On the other hand, I do like being able to keep in touch with people who I used to know, just to see how they see the world. I find though most people just post cute or uplifting quotes from other people and don't post their own opinions or lives. One person I know has been posting about cancer treatment, which I find heroic. I would never be able to share that on social media.

  • Lorrie MacGregor

    I didn’t mind FB a few years ago when they had games like FarmVille but I am tired of seeing videos of sick children that their moms post. Somethings I think are private and I don’t always want to see it because most of the time people are looking for attention or money.
    I’m even tired of Instagram.
    I see the same thing over and over.
    Besides who wants to know I’m eating dinner.
    I’ve eaten dinner long before social media.
    And I don’t want the world to know I’m having a bad day. Or that people often tell others they are going to end their life. Pick up the phone.
    The verdict is out on YouTube though.

  • some guy

    I think its weird if you do use social media. If you have internet chances are you have a phone too...So this excuse of needing to “stay in touch with people” is a ridiculous one to me. Social media is for narcissistic people and fame seekers. Eww..

  • Victor

    Hello

  • Leanne Brady

    Hmmmm. I know I'm about a year late.. this totally happens when you aren't on social media. Ha
    Your thoughts are profound and provoking.
    Why do you want us to share our thoughts?

  • Ingrid

    I was homeschooled alot so I had no friends and therefore no purpose for social media. (Okay I had friends but I didn’t see them often). This lack of people to talk to also made me social akward and I probably still am. now I’m back in normal school and EVERYONE has some form of social media. Before I only had a gmail and phone number but now have tik tok YouTube and Xbox account. I never post anything bc all I don’t have anything to post exept for my life with five younger siblings in a three bedroom house. I mostly use my accounts to watch others videos (I sometimes play games with xbox account but the computer is super slow). I want to feel included with my friends but it would be so much work and time that I don’t have.

  • a person

    idk if deviantart counts, but that's it for me
    i also have a flip phone
    i didn't know this mattered?

  • Zorba

    Nuts - I wouldn't so dignify the product (so-called "Social Media"). There is zero legitimacy to its existence.

  • RIco

    I think people undervalue their privacy...and then they cry when there's some kind of a breach. I don't even have a data plan on my phone. If you want to get hold of me, you can call or SMS. People literally freak out when they find out. "You don't have data? How can you not have data? You're a VP of IT! That doesn't make sense!"
    After I explain why I don't want data, people change their tune because it's logical. It makes sense. And you know what? I'm not cut off from the world. There's wifi everywhere if I want it. When I travel, I get data for GPS or emergencies. That makes sense to me. Social skills are disappearing, and those who will succeed in the professional world will be the ones that HAVE social skills. It's no secret.

  • Celle

    i dont feel the need to know everything about everybody i know. and, i dont desire anyone to know anything about me. i'm past the age when i thought life was a popularity contest. i dont require other's approval, or input in any decision i choose. i live my life according to "me", and only me. its quite liberating ... and powerful really.

  • Dunn

    The only social media I have is pinterest and honestly it's great. All I use it for is Marvel memes when I'm bored, so I don't have to deal with other peoples' preppy fake lives.
    But to be honest it does get a little lonely. For example, I found out Stranger Things 3 came out a few days after it did and when I told my cousin she said "i thougt you knew. everyone knew."
    but oh well to that, guess I just better stay up on release dates and such.

  • Dunn

    the only social media i have is pinterest, which i only use to look at marvel memes when im bored, and it is honestly great! but yeah, it's a little lonely sometimes; for example, i found out stranger things 3 had come out a few days after it did, and when i told my cousin she said "i thought you knew. everyone knew." but i guess that just means i gotta keep up on all the show release dates

  • Lord Touchington

    I think social media brings out the worst in people. It's a general cesspool, encourages over-sharing and the real product is as information about people. People volunteer this information to the world and meticulously curate the view of the lives. Social Media is by no stretch real and if you actually care about someone you can use MMS for photos, call them or just hang out in person.

    Social media doesn't connect people at all, despite what their marketing says (https://www.theodysseyonline.com/social-media-is-tearing-us-apart and a few others, but I'm sure people are smart enough to web search it for themselves for more information).

    People without social media aren't "freaks" and most of them I know don't actually talk about it. The only time it really gets discussed is when people somehow think it is news or representative of the population. More and more people are also abandoning social media because of mass doxxing and other things going on throughout the world.

    "Hashtag Activism" and other things I think really drive home the concept that people on these platforms are more "freaky" than those without. The ease and laziness you can latch onto something without actually having to do anything to support it is odd/strange. If you actually believe in something you'll get out there and support it (not even in protests or demonstrations, you just live you life that way and don't even need to talk about it). I'm all for the freedom to protest but I don't think they actually do anything and I think Hashtag Activism has even less of an impact.

    Also: you have to classify the difference between "not having a TV" (as in the physical sense) vs. "not having TV". Most people I know have TV but don't have cable because they don't watch sports or live news (the only two reasons to not just stick with streaming services). Even then a lot of people only have 1 streaming service and a Plex somewhere.

  • Nate

    I deleted ny FB, twitter, instagram, etc all about a year ago and have never been happier. I actually see friends and catch up on their real ideas in person. If I don’t hear from someone, then they were never my friend. Social media is a time drain when you could be out experiencing life. When I leave work on a vacation, no one knows what I did or what I saw. I don’t spend it taking selfies. I was walking into somewhere one evening and every person I passed was engrossed on their cell phone, usually social media. My plan at retirement is just to get a simple basic cell phone and even drop texting. I have worked much of my life in tech so I am not a technophobe. The best thing I ever did was leave social media behind in the dust and re-engage with the world.

  • Henry

    I joined Instagram last year December because my friends said it was necessary in today's standards. I just deleted the account after I read some comments here, I realized I wasn't alone. I'll tell you from the few months I engaged in it, didn't see it's necessity (Although I enjoyed watching some videos there). I felt no real impact. I only joined because I didn't want people to perceive me as weird, which I'm not, if I do say so myself. Honestly, I prefer good old fashion convo's, we'd meet and I'd see you, face to face. I use WhatsApp tho, because it's sort of like the new sms app, it's sorta like required nowadays. I have a Facebook account but rarely use it, can't remember the last time I posted on it. Social media isn't a bad thing, it really has helped a number of people out in their careers, but it just doesn't sit right with me.

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Steve Blakeman

Management Guru

Steve is the #1 LinkedIn Global Top Voice 2017 - Management & Workplace. He is the Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris leading Groupe Renault. Prior to this role, he was CEO for OMD in Asia for 4 years based in Singapore. At OMD, he increased billings by +60% to over US$ 5bn and won 1000+ industry awards including agency network wins at the Cannes Lions (2013) and Festival of Media Asia (2013). He was named by LinkedIn as a 'Top 10 Writer' for 3 consecutive years (15/16/17). His first book 'How to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn' is a Best Seller on Amazon and his 2nd book is due out in 2018. Steve holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Liverpool University. 

   

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