34

I don't use social media. Faceplace, flutter, you name it, I really hate it, and I avoid it.

Unfortunately social media seems to be expected these days. Like it's a given that everybody uses it and loves it and posts on it habitually.

I don't and I'm tired of being harassed about it.

What are some kind ways of putting that out there?

I would like to be friends with people, but being a "friend" on Faceplace is completely out of the question. If you have a link to something funny or interesting, there are loads of better ways to reach me.

What's a more effective way of wording that, without lying, so that I don't have to get up on my soapbox about why I don't use social media on a regular basis?

  • 2
    "there are loads of better ways to reach me" Could you elaborate on what those might be? Email, something else? Even email can be considered social media in some respects. – user3169 Aug 17 '17 at 7:03
  • 1
    Why does everyone assume stress is the issue here? – Weckar E. Aug 28 '17 at 11:19
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    Comments deleted. Please only use comments to ask for clarifications; post answer as answers, not comments. Thanks. – HDE 226868 Dec 7 '17 at 16:59
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    Are faceplace and flutter placeholders for Facebook and twitter? Why not name these? – Bernhard Döbler Oct 27 at 12:59

13 Answers 13

17

Make it short and don't explain. Explanations just invite counter-arguments.

I'm old fashioned that way.

If your peers start a discussion, just signal indifference and move to another topic.

  • But you miss out on so much important news!
  • Yeah, that's ok. How was your trip to Sicily, by the way?

They won't enjoy debating someone who obviously isn't involved. And they won't feel the need do defended their own choice of using social media in case they perceive your abstinence as an implicit challenge.

If you do want to get on the soapbox, but this is guaranteed to provoke rather than avoid debate, Richard Stallmann has compiled a brilliant list of Facebook dangers.

  • 1
    If someone says "But you miss out on so many important news!" just reply "Yes but you miss out on real life" ;) – WayneEra Oct 19 '17 at 14:30
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    @WayneEra I would advise against that, extremely. As a social media user and an avid "real life user", I would find that obnoxious and rude. – Hankrecords Jan 25 '18 at 9:49
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    Asking about something like news about a trip to change subject could obviously lead to "You would know if you used randomsocialmedia" – Rolexel Feb 19 '18 at 8:56
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    @AlexandreAudin my point is, it's not about the effort. It's about inviting someone to chat about an interesting experience they've had. – user510 Feb 19 '18 at 9:26
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    @AlexandreAudin fair enough! – user510 Feb 19 '18 at 9:35
14

Why not be honest about it? Tell the askers what you told us.

I don't really like it. So I avoid it. Besides, you can contact me through (other ways listed here)

That should be enough. It's not mandatory to maintain an account on any faceplace or flutter.

It's the same response I was given once when I asked a friend about it at a time when I used to post a lot of stuff online.

Now I too give a similar response to others when they ask me why I've not been active lately.

I got tired of it. I don't really want to post nowadays. I do use WhatsApp, so you can still reach me there for a quick chat.

If in case your people don't take a simple no for an answer, you may try the following explanation, which is my own reasons for reduced activity.

Unlike my college days, I'm a lot busier now. I rarely have time to see what others are up to, and I keep in touch using WhatsApp. So I find no real reason to sign into faceplace or flutter for that.

  • 5
    You'd be surprised how many people don't take "no" for an answer... Even people I've known for years, that have heard my soapbox speech, at great length, over and over again, still give me a hard time about it. – apaul Aug 17 '17 at 5:51
  • 1
    With great respect to all well-meaning and social-minded souls let me tell you, @apaul34208 that people are like that only, and we have to (learn to) ignore such persons. I have been similarly pestered by generic people about other personal topics though not about social media, and I simply give them a politely insincere answer (not a good choice for you, of course) because I have no need at all to explain myself to others in such matters. – English Student Aug 17 '17 at 17:04
  • Anecdote: Some years ago, a friend of our's (bestie and me also don't use FB) invited to his birthday party via FB - so we totally missed it of course. Later he was upset with us and asked why we didn't come #facepalm. – Fildor Dec 7 '17 at 13:55
6

I quit Facebook about 9 months ago due to personal reasons. What I told people was that I was too stressed by political posts, and I didn't use it much anyways, so I decided to deactivate. (Both of those were true, although they weren't the primary reason.)

The reaction depends on who is asking - my friends were more likely to go "Yeah, I've thought about that too, but everyone's on there / that's how I share pictures with my grandma / my knitting group is run through it / etc." than "OMG how can you not have a Facebook?!"

I think the key to not being bothered was

  1. Have a reason that is relatable
  2. Offer alternatives

For the first, I've noticed a trend lately to hearken back to the good ol' days, where people built connections using "traditional" means (phone calls, letters, etc.). Nostalgia is powerful and most people romanticize the past to some extent, so they can empathize with this. It's hard to argue with someone who wants to build better friendships.

With more tech-savvy people, this might not work. In this case, you can cite other things you dislike about social media -- perhaps you think Twitter doesn't do enough to combat harassment, or Facebook shouldn't use its users for research studies, or Snapchat has poor privacy practices.

You don't have to tell them everything, it's okay to pick and choose what you think they will "get". Above all, take care not to insult them for their use of it! This will only make them defensive. It's your personal choice to avoid it, as it is theirs to use it. That doesn't make one of you better or worse than the other.

For the second, I reminded my friends that I'm available via text and IM, and we still talk regularly through those. Keep in mind that this will probably take more effort on your parts, which is one reason a friend might be sad you're not on their favorite social networking site. (I used to have a Twitter but quit that as well, and lost some friends as a result because that was the only place we really talked. Of course, this is less of a factor if you never had an account in the first place.)

Finally, you say in a comment:

You'd be surprised how many people don't take "no" for an answer... Even people I've known for years, that have heard my soapbox speech, at great length, over and over again, still give me a hard time about it.

These people just don't get it, and probably never will. You've tried to explain and they aren't listening, so there's no point in rehashing the argument. If they bug you again, deflect and change the subject.

You know, we've talked about this before and my views still haven't changed. How about them sports teams, huh?

Or you could even play along:

Maybe you're right that I'm missing out on things. Did Aunt Myrtle post any good recipes lately? Wow, I guess Jimmy had some real hot takes on that latest episode. I'm glad I have such a good friend to keep me up to date!

Being agreeable when they expect an argument takes the wind right out of their sails, without making a fuss.

6

I'm not on Facebook either, unlike the vast majority of the people I know, so I get both the questions and the assumption that of course I've seen stuff on a regular basis. What I say when this comes up is usually something like this:

Yeah, I know lots of people are there, but I just can't manage yet another thing trying to become the center of my online world. I do post on my blog and of course I'm happy to talk via email.

For the subset who would resonate with it, I give a more focused answer like "I'm not comfortable with their privacy" or "keeping up with the terms-of-service changes was too hard" or "I'd rather not have them filtering my feed".

The key is to both concisely convey that you know and it's not likely to change, and offer alternatives for staying connected.

This works pretty well for me. Recently it even prompted a social group that has been ignoring an email mailing list in favor of another venue to set up a feed of new posts to email, to reduce fragmentation. You can't win the platform fight (Facebook vs Twitter vs Tumblr vs whatever vs email...), but sometimes you can get the same content to show up in more than one place.

4

What's a more effective way of wording that, without lying?

Well, when asked, I just answered : protection of personal data, privacy.

And then, I explained my POV:

It's not about you, but about [ social media - you name it ]. They use cookies, scripts, track data, want to localize you so they know where you go, which website you visit, what your interests are, follow and record your internet activity. They want to know what you like, why you like it, and they use private data to link all stuff together. Then, you're in their database, and they can show you what they modestly call targeted advertising. To [ social media ] I want to be an Internet Ghost.

NOTE: you have many links and discussion about this matter, but I don't know if I can put them here, so I don't take a chance. But [ you name it :) ] will help you search for these.

YMMV : you don't expand the explanation the same way when talking to a relative, or a friend, or someone you just met. Adapt to your needs: It is known that [ social media ] does not protect privacy and personal data, so I don't feel comfortable with it, and I'd rather not use them.

Then, I just say that [ you / people ] can contact me by [ mail / text ]. I want to stay hidden from them, not from you :) This way, they don't feel hurt and take it personally.

I feel exactly the same way about reality shows (see @Bradley-Wilson answer). But found that it leads to arguments (in my case) and never-ending topics, because not everyone has the same approach when it comes to this. So I dodge the bullet, and now avoid discussing this (I hate those too, whether they are "social media" or "reality shows", but not everyone will like to hear this, and it's their choice to use/watch it. But it won't definitely be mine!).

4

A user on Reddit nails it in my opinion (if you don't watch reality TV):

Because I don't care that Jennifer is feeling excited about going to Chipotle tonight [insert emojis]. Same reason I don't watch reality tv. Why take time out of your own life to watch others live theirs?

You could then follow up with:

Contact me through [insert medium here] instead, if you need me

The reality TV analogy should suffice for the nay sayers, you might have to be a little blunt if they're persistent, but with a happy tone, this can come across as kind too. (with a pinch of cynicism)

  • I think, while it may be true for you, this answer is a bit too rude. I don't follow people who post their meals. I don't follow people I don't like alot or love. I don't watch reality tv. To some people, facebook/place/unit is important. There's no need to be demeaning. – anongoodnurse Dec 7 '17 at 1:57
  • @anongoodnurse True, but usually when you search for something interesting, you'll have to filter all those "Reality TV" stuff. Unless you really only use facebook for the chat for instance. – Walfrat Dec 7 '17 at 11:40
4

One thing to note ... if you give them "The Speech" about why you don't like social media, that may get people's back up (subconsciously) and make them want to justify social media to you. So, cast it as personal preference.

"I tried it, just didn't like it."

"I've got too much on my plate."

"It just doesn't float my boat."

People will often accept answers like that which don't challenge the premise of their much-liked hobby.

  • 2
    Good advice, and I think it's not just The Speech that the OP may want to avoid, but also the hints of it. For example, if the OP actually says "Faceplace" to people, it may come across as mocking something that they enjoy using. Similarly, saying there are "better" ways to get in touch can imply judgment about others' preferred methods; emphasizing "better for me" or just saying "ways I'd prefer" would avoid that. – Cascabel Dec 7 '17 at 7:18
2

Why should you explain why you don't use something? If I wear brown shoes, should I explain to anyone, why I'm not wearing black or white ones? I could, but it would be a madness.

Just ask them with a surprised tone why should you? If you see no benefits, let them tell you what the benefits are and then you can point out that it is no real benefit for you (commenting on stupid memes, seriously dude?).

Many people can't really explain why they are doing something (and expect anyone else to do the same), and they do it because the others do it.

Anecdotally, it works even on football. If people ask, why I don't watch it, I ask them why should I watch 22 half-naked men chasing some rag, and they have nothing to add after that point.

  • 1
    To be fair, social media has become such a focused channel of communication that it's almost mainstream. Therefore, to an extent, it's expectable that someone uses it. This way, explaining the reasons not to use it may be necessary. – Zoltán Schmidt Aug 28 '17 at 12:14
2

One honest, fairly universal explanation would be:

Because X doesn't do what I need; Y does.

Follow up with a short explanation of "what you need," and anyone further discussing is either genuinely curious, and can give way to a real discussion, or just wants to sway you to their opinion and weren't really listening no matter what your answer might have been.

As a concrete example, I am a gamer. Gamers have tended towards other communication platforms now for a while, either exclusively or in addition to social media. First it was Ventrillo, then Teamspeak/Skype, and now Discord is pretty common. Why? Because all these platforms have one simple thing in common: voice communication. Even if you've never played a co-op game with another person in your life, you can hopefully see the value a nigh-instant, hands-free communication method offers to people who do.

And it turns out these all allow direct messaging, chatroom setups, and yes, lolcat picture sharing just fine. So I've never had social media simply because these do everything I want already.

You don't have to be a gamer to use this answer, either. Maybe you simply don't use a computer a lot and the mobile sites for these places are really clunky on your phone. Maybe you're simply conversation-oriented and don't want to worry about the profile dress-up minigame that comes with it. Maybe you're a naturally private person and don't want to manage a front-page splash trying to summarize you. Maybe you're happy with your current relationships, or just not that social, and don't want to meet more people.

In either case, supplement with the wisdom of other answers. Let them know it's you, not them, and you're still reachable by these other means to hang out and stay friends.

1

Just say you tend to waste a lot of time browsing social media and it was having an adverse effect on work/school/personal life etc. So as an experiment you've been boycotting it (actually just say not using it, boycotting will probably provoke a response) to see how much more productive/healthy you are with your time.

Usually that'll be enough for most people. If they pry more so, just humor them. It's so addictive these days that it's like an addict asking another person why they're not on the sweet drug of social media. Don't take it seriously, it's just a product of the times.

  • That would be a touch dishonest. I've never been a fan. – apaul Aug 17 '17 at 5:34
  • Facebook/social media makes communication easier. Whatever your answer, if you can show that if the person needs to reach you, he/she can without a hassle, then you should be able to placate them. The key is to not make it a big deal and just change the topic of conversation if they're pressing you even after you've given curt reasons. – mobcity zkore Aug 17 '17 at 5:43
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    I've not found Facebook to make communication easier, it's a horrible platform for communicating actual information. – Erik Aug 17 '17 at 7:36
1

I don't use social media myself, and therefore completely understand what you mean. The only social media I use is Stack Exchange, which is not social media. I do put up pictures of recipes we made, for my mother's friends to see on F, but that's all I do there. I don't even have Whatsapp. Why?

Because I am not interested and I don't need to.

Luckily very few people have been asking me why I am not on social media, although one old friend was apparently disturbed (he later told my sister) when he asked me for my Whatsapp number and I said literally these words:

you know my personality; I am not on social media.

So it can be perceived negatively even if you make the mildest or most friendly statement.

Since you don't like to lie anyway, I am thinking of a mostly non-antagonistic reply for these situations:

mild: I am not very interested in social media, although I can understand its importance for others.

moderate: I am not interested in social media and it is not essential in my life. That's why I don't use it.

semi-controversial reply which can possibly invite discussion you don't need: I had some bad experiences with social media and so I don't use it (not necessarily true of your personal experience.)

another semi-controversial reply: it's not me! social media deleted my accounts for some reason. [This can either be perceived as a rude/ flippant reply or confuse the listener.]

You also have the option of a blunt response which I am not recommending you use unless severely pestered or provoked:

severe: It's my life!

0

I tend to steer clear from social media, expecially for connecting with friends.

My go to answer when someone says (and they always say it) "You don't have facebook!?" is:

"Nah, I don't see the point... I only have 5 friends and I call/ text them when I want to talk to them. Makes them feel special haha. I do have xxx if you want to swap numbers/ email though?". As long as you say it with a smile people won't take it as an insult to them for using it, but will understand where you are coming from because I've yet to meet someone who doesn't prefer a personal message or call rather than being 1/100 being tagged on social media. Plus you've then also tried to progress the relationship by asking for a way to contact them which most people appreciate.

0

Great question - this comes up from time to time. I answer only to help others who come across this issue.

  1. Unusual advice: lead your conversations more instead of follow. About half the time this issue comes up, you're following in a conversational structure. If you initiate more, such as "Let's grab lunch on Thursday at [x] on noon" then this will come up less. Also, if you do this a lot, you'll earn the reputation of being a hoster over an attendee and people won't see it as unusual that you're on social media. About half the time.
  2. As you've probably noticed, if you give a serious reply, this never helps. I wasted a year trying this - very dumb of me! I even tried lighter replies like, "Oh Gosh, I just don't have the time." Also dumb. If you absolutely want to stay connected with them and you're unwilling to offer an acceptable alternative (based on their response), you may either have to join or let them go. If you offer a phone instead and they say, "I don't do phone, only Faceplace" that may be a reality for interacting with them further or staying connected.
  3. Offer a physical alternative. One benefit of everyone trying to be a virtual friend is that physical friendships can mean more to some people (kinesthetic types especially). Don't take it personal if they don't say yes when you offer an alternative and make it easy for them. This is how I do it:

"Yeah, I don't do the whole socme thing. Just text me the event at [number], or if that's too much, no worries."

There are billions of other people to meet, so if they want me around, they'll meet me on my turf.

  1. For some of the readers reading this post, sometimes you're being filtered when you're asked this question. Don't take it personal; some people won't associate with people who are not on social media. It happens. Some people are also just looking to add you at a +1 and that's it, so you may not be missing out on anything. From hearing people talk about their social media interactions, it doesn't sound like a lot more than complaining most of the time, but who knows - maybe some depth exists.
  2. I noticed that I never got asked this question at kickball practice or Karate. As it turns out, I was being asked this question because of what I was doing. As I did more outdoor and physical activities, I never got asked this question. In a way, I try to be on the 'net as little as I can when I'm not at work. For some people reading this, consider this question a filter for people you may want to spend more or less time with - it doesn't come up with some groups.

As another poster mentioned, this comes up a lot for those of us who don't watch TV too. "Did you see the latest Game of Bones episode?/Did you see the latest sports game?" Same type of situation and often it may sometimes indicate that you don't share the same interests with these people. In other situations, you and the other may learn to talk about shared interests instead.

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