Everything seems to revolve around social media. When I meet new people, the first thing they ask after small talk is “What’s your Snap?” or “What’s your Instagram?” It always comes as a surprise when I tell them that I do not have any sort of social media. They look at me in disbelief for a few seconds, then ask if I can give them my phone number. When I agree, I rarely ever hear back from them, making my experience in finding new friends difficult.
All the friends that I have are the ones that I made in high school, where we first met in a mutual club, which led to meeting up every day after lunch to talk. Like me, they also prioritize face-to-face conversations, and even though most of them do have social media, they understand and respect my decision as to why I don’t have it.
In class, I can see students sending meaningless Snaps to their friends, some where only the top of their head is showing, others of a fragment of the desk they are using or just a picture of the plain ceiling. Then I can see smiles when they receive those types of Snaps back. It is baffling, to say the least. Part of the reason I do not have social media is so that when I communicate with my friends, we can see each other’s facial expressions and body language and ease into meaningful conversations, such as what we think the meaning of life is or what our goals are — topics we spend hours on. Our relationships thus get inherently stronger. Even though I have only known most of my friends since senior year of high school, I feel like I have known them for all my life from the lengthy conversations we have and the activities we do together.
I know that if I had social media, I would most likely conform to the virtual form of communication: simple texts and Snaps of random objects which will probably add to my follower count, but never to true and meaningful connections with them. The Guardian mentions a woman named Daisy who described how Facebook made her feel like a failure. Seeing all her friends get engaged, be promoted at work and more while she was living at home with her parents while buried underneath college debt took a toll on her mental health. Once she deleted Facebook, she claimed her life changed for the better. She focused on herself and realized that her real friends were the ones that actually took the time to hang out with her and share their new life updates and goals. Those that are true friends don’t add a like to whatever new thing you post; they share their time with you to learn more about you, make new memories with you and support you with whatever you’re going through.
Because I do not have social media, I am very unaware about certain aspects of the world around me. For instance, I didn’t know about the controversy around Andrew Tate until one of my friends brought it up. However, the lack of information about these topics never bothered me. To me, the most important news I need to hear can be obtained by listening to NBC CT at 5 p.m. or the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell at 6:30 p.m. I want to know about any upcoming storms and the rate of COVID-19 – news that affects my decisions and actions around staying safe. So I feel no need to have social media, not for obtaining news nor for finding friends.
Now, the big issue is when I start job hunting. Saiyida Nafisa Rosdi from LinkedIn shared a study from Potier that stated “84% of organisations use social media for staffing.” To people like me, without social media, this is threatening. Knowing that myself and another candidate with social media could be both qualified and have the exact same skills and education, but that the one that has social media will get the position, is terrifying.
Just because a person’s social media can seem impressive with professional-looking pictures does not imply anything about that person’s professionalism in real life. I am inquisitive, hard-working and committed to my goals, but no employer would know that without first getting to know me through interviews, and social media certainly would not prove I possess these qualities.
Although I still am afraid that finding a job will be much more difficult for me, I am building up my social network in real life. I am building stronger relationships with my friends, getting to know my teachers and presenting myself to employers at career fairs. Honestly, the connections formed in real life will never replace those formed on social media, so I am proud of my decision.
I think it’s absurd that you could say “ the most important news I need to hear can be obtained by listening to NBC CT at 5 p.m. or the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell at 6:30 p.m. I want to know about any upcoming storms and the rate of COVID-19 – news that affects my decisions and actions around staying safe.” because when Covid 19 first happened the news said that it wasn’t a big deal, and wasn’t real. I learned of it long before masks due to social media. Furthermore, you claim you didn’t know about Andrew Tate which shows that you are not educated on young peoples issues to to your withdraw from social media. I respect your decision but to chastise others for wanting the most up to date information from real reliable sources & not traditional media is absurd. By your logic you would’ve never heard of George Floyd or Edward Snowden. Balance is everything.
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I gave up social media a few years ago. I havent missed it all. For news there are many 24 hour stations available and friends/family can easily text or call.