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I Believe The Future Reality Of Networking Is No Longer Related To Social Media, But Direct

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim
on

I came across a number of articles on my Flipboard feed recently highlighting Gen Z and how they are into buying dumb phones now. While their predecessors are pretty much into smart devices and the latest shining objects being introduced out there, there are a growing number of Gen Zs who are going retro. They want to ditch smartphones and slowly move away from the connected world and toxicity.

Reasons?

In those articles, there are a few reasons why this is happening. First, they want to digital detox. It’s just too much and somehow digital is the primary reason for the FOMO or fear-of-missing-out anxiety happening. To some extent, many people are going mental because of this. Second, there is this thing called the Power of Nostalgia. Rekindling the good-ol-days technologies and how simple life was during those years, is the other main reason Gen Z make the decision to go for the dumb and flip phones.

The third reason is related to privacy. Many Gen Z is concerned about this and how bad the consequences are if private things or documents that aren’t supposed to be out there are leaked. That’s one. The other one is about being a target of advertisements. They truly hate being a target of certain digital platforms for ads. Thanks to the personal data being collected by those platforms.

My situation

It has been close to a month since I left the social media universe. I emptied all my tweets on Twitter and left a minimal amount of posts on my LinkedIn. In a few weeks’ time, I will completely delete those posts too. I have an empty Facebook account and zero presence on Instagram and TikTok. Last weekend, I recently dropped by Twitter and LinkedIn once last weekend to check some incoming messages and sent some away to acquaintances.

To leave these social media channels is not that simple after spending close to 15 years on them. I made a number of attempts to leave before but failed. I crawled back after a week or so. The power of the crowd is pretty overwhelming. I lost.

But this time I made it.

Why do I want to leave social media?

There are seven reasons why I want to leave the social media universe.

One, there is no longer joy in being there. I no longer know what to post or write to keep myself up with the rest of the crowd. Two, I’m no longer keen to share too much information about my professional thoughts, business activities and ideas there. Three, no one is going to read them. The algorithm has dramatically changed, and it is now prioritising paid subscribers. Twitter is now at it. Four, it is so freakin’ noisy now. On LinkedIn, there are many selfies and self-promotions unlike before. The platform is now just another Facebook.

Five, the level of content recycling work is beyond words. I can no longer see myself viewing those on my feed on a daily basis. Six, I want to stop chasing likes, comments and shares completely. It’s tiring. To hunt for these without paying the social media platforms is almost impossible. All of these platforms now are indeed pay-to-play platforms now. And seven, I guess age is catching up. I just do not want to spend more and more time on the screen. Instead, I’d like to read more books and articles and write my thoughts on my channels and a couple of publications only.

Due to all these reasons, I decided it is time for me to move on.

It is time to go direct

It is time to take control of what my audience can and can not see. Since the social media channels are dictating too much of these, I decided to move my online presence elsewhere. Exchange stories with one another are more meaningful if it is done directly without social media as the intermediaries. Enter WhatsApp, 300th, and Telegram—the three powerful tools that perfectly suit my plan moving forward.

I’m presently using WhatsApp to interact with my friends, loved ones and clients. In fact, I am also using WhatsApp Business to run consulting activities under my marketing strategy advisory firm, NSE Interactive.

As for my writing and PR activities, I use content-sharing platforms a lot. Like, really a lot. To me, these are great platforms to distribute my content across the Asia Pacific. It has its own readers dropping by every single day to read new stuff being uploaded there, it also has a strong presence on search engines such as Google and Bing, and it seems that the platform is acquiring more and more new contributors every day which the growth will fuel the internet traffic growth for the platform. This is important to me and I want my content to really be seen by people out there. If more people see my content here, I can actually swing them to my website for monetisation purposes.

I am also using Medium to build email subscribers directly. The platform allows me to grow my own email subscribers and directly notify them via email once there is new content being uploaded. This gives me an assurance that my audience will see what I write should they click on the link in the email they received.

Telegram is an important tool for me to build my community directly. Similar to Medium, I am building a strong presence online here by growing a long list of community members—a channel I created to help my communities to understand more about marketing strategy. Here, they will get to read new tips, tricks and ideas about it every morning.

So, no social media no problem.

My personal life moving forward

I have deleted all social media apps on my smartphone now. Yup, I am still using the smartphone. But come June, I’m going to ditch it and use a Nokia instead to further simplify my life.

I’m eyeing the 8110 4G, the banana phone, to stay connected with my friends and loved ones. All I need is some basic calling-in-and-out features, internet access and WhatsApp to keep going. And for more complex tasks, I would rather power up my MacBook.

There are many other individuals whom I see today who are slowing down and spending less and less time on social media nowadays. I guess they too have had enough of it.

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