You’d be hard-pressed to find a 30-year-old American who is not connected on at least one social network. While on vacation a few weeks ago, I came across that man. A dinosaur among men. Below is a brief Q&A on why a seemingly “normal” person would choose to turn their back on a digital revolution that is being embraced by the masses. I anticipate a healthy debate in the comments section below,
Q: Why have you chosen to shut social networks out of your life?
A: I don’t see the need. If I want to share something with someone, I will arrange a meeting, pick up the phone, or, if I’m very busy, send them an email.
Q: What led to your decision?
A: It was never a conscious decision. Quite frankly, I’m not very fond of talking about myself so I never saw the need to sign up. I’m very happy with my life and have no need to say to the world, “Look at my job. My wife. My kids. My house. My car.” Social networks are all about ME, ME, ME.
Q: That’s a pretty grim outlook, no? What about people who are looking to reconnect with people from their past?
A: I am willing to bet that in the majority of cases, people do not truly want to re-establish a relationship, they merely want details so they can fool themselves into believing that are doing better than the next guy. It’s rat race 2.0. Social media has taken self-importance and turned it from a beast into a full-blown monster. The monster has grown so big, that people don’t even realize what they are doing and why. But what do I know – I wasn’t a pysch major or anything.
Q: Has anything else contributed to your self-imposed social network ban?
A: We all knew Big brother would be watching us, but I’m not sure any of us expected that we would create him! Pick up any Ayn Rand, George Orwell or Aldous Huxley novel and you will find dystopia; places where oppression rules and every move is tracked. We can debate the oppression part, but the tracking, well, that’s here – and we created the beast. I don’t care if someone I know is at the Starbucks on the corner “checking in,” there’s no good reason to geotag your life.
Q: How do you respond to people who think you are just a “hater?”
A: I don’t hate social networks, they are just not for me. That doesn’t make me any better or worse than the next guy. I respect people’s decision to engage the way I hope they respect mine to stay away. I do seem to be part of an ever-shrinking minority for my age range. I have recently found that telling people I am not on Facebook, has spawned interesting conversations. I might be more memorable for NOT being online.
Q: Do you consider yourself a sociable person?
A: I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, but I am generally comfortable speaking with people and am confident that I am fairly well liked. I do not allow my life to cross-over online, which is one of the reasons I am choosing to remain anonymous. I can count my real friends on both hands.
Q: When did you make the decision to ban social networks for your life?
A: It wasn’t anything conscious. I believe in looking forward, not back.
Q: Do you think your decision will hurt your future career/life prospects?
A: I honestly don’t. I work at maintaining my relationships offline, so while I might not “know” as many people, I am confident that the people I do know will be able to help.
Q: So will we ever find you on Facebook?
A: Never. Not if I win the lottery; not if I bag Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston at the same time. It’s just not for me. I have nothing to prove to anyone.
While the social media rejecter has opted to remain anonymous, he will be monitoring this thread for a limited time and responding to questions.