I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I think it’s a tool that breeds creativity on one hand, and epitomizes human narcissism on the other. I use social media almost every single day of my life. I am still in the space for small businesses and organizations I do work for, I use it as a means of sharing my digital writing work, and I use it pseudo- personally and professionally to build a brand.
That last part is really what gets to me. I know branding: the theory and the practice. I’m good enough at digital branding when it comes to products, businesses, organizations, and other people. Myself? Not so much. But I’m learning. Thus, it is a necessary evil to my professional and personal life. I use social media socially of course, and the truth is I learn a lot through what people think and share, and how they interact. Social media is one of those tools that at times can say a lot about people, and at other times will tell you absolutely nothing about them at all. Yet when it comes to guys (that I’m already interested in), the less they are into social media, the more I am into them.
Am I being a hypocrite? Probably. I am sure going through my social media platforms could be a turn off. Heck, sometimes I’m turned off by how much I’m on there and I don’t even think I’m half-bad most days. (Or maybe I am, and I just don’t know it.) But as soon as I social media stalk a guy (sorry, I’m not cool enough not to do that); if he appears to be a rare user, I become even more interested in him. I think it’s partially that “less is more” persona that is very attractive. But I’ve also never liked guys who were the loudest in the room which would be the social media equivalent of posting thoughts all day, every day. If I had a definite type and I’m not sure that I do, I’d digitally brand him as, “Cool and quiet confidence…who doesn’t tweet much.”
I find that some of the most boring people in real life have some of the greatest digital personalities. Alternatively, some of the most interesting people in real life don’t give a hoot about their “digital personality.” It’s not true for everyone of course and it might not even be true for the majority; but this is merely an observation through living and working in the space. The truth is I have to think about my digital personality for my work, for my aspirations, etc. So there is something utterly refreshing to me about someone who just doesn’t care – someone whose work doesn’t have anything to do with his personal digital brand, someone who doesn’t worry if their Facebook post was misunderstood or pay attention to their follower growth rate. Someone whose Instagram pictures are few and far between in a way that is frustrating but keeps you wanting more, while you’re hitting that refresh feed button like a rabid-dog, waiting for any sign of activity from them. Pathetic? Yes. Honest? You tell me.
The fact that it is almost unavoidable that I have to ultimately care about certain mundane aspects of social media because of the work I do, is deadening enough to my soul. So when I’m with someone whose life could not be further from this, I am just happy to be around them and have the privilege of getting to know them – the real them – in a non-digital way. I love that many of my close friends are not in this space too because I think in the digital world, there is a tendency to only be around people in the digital world – which is of course the case in many industries. But I find that people in the digital world are especially bad at putting their phones and computers away, and not talking about their latest, greatest, campaign, article, idea, etc. that was trending that day or that will be trending tomorrow. And it’s exhausting and boring.
I will probably always use social media as long as it’s an integral part of professional and personal communications. I think there’s a lot of good in it and I try to remind myself of that. I tweet and Facebook and Instagram and share aspects of my personal life through my writing. I like to think some of it is helpful and most of it is at the very least, not harmful. But I think the great thing I’ve found about guys who aren’t into social media are they don’t really care that you’re into it, whatever your reasons are. They get to know you – the real you – in a non-digital way.