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

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

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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.

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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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