What Would The World Look Like Without Social Media?

A World Without Social MediaDo you remember a time before social media?

For the younger ones among us, that might be difficult since Facebook and Twitter are now engrained in their psyche.

But I do remember when computers weren’t mainstream and mobile phones were a twinkling in someone’s eye.

Being social meant meeting with people face to face or catching up with them on a phone call.

Socialising was a way of keeping friendship bonds alive, having fun and relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

Can You Imagine A World Without Social Media?

“Social” Might Return To It’s Former Meaning

I’ve become less convinced that social media is actually about being social.

Or at least not in the sense of spending quality time with others and getting to know them.

It’s become a display of links or status updates that people share and 1 in 50 of those might attract someone’s attention.

When was the last time you actually really engaged with anyone on social media, other than a quick thank you or how’s the weather?

If it didn’t exist, we might actually start talking to each other again!

We Wouldn’t Try And Befriend People That We Wouldn’t Normally In Real Life

When I first joined Facebook, I always told myself that I wouldn’t become a friend of anyone who I hadn’t met in real life.

Then, I seemed to very quickly get invites from people I’d been to school with who I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years.

Following my rule, I thought sure I’d accept but have I engaged with any of them since? Not really.

I really started to break my rule after a few months of blogging though. That’s ok because they’re a great bunch of people.

What I do find odd though is when someone asks me to be friends on Facebook and they’ve never spoken to me before.

Fine on Twitter, and on Google+ to a certain extent – not so fine on Facebook or LinkedIn I don’t think.

Concentration Levels Might Increase

Do you find that you waste time looking at your social media accounts throughout the day?

As much as looking at status updates seems like it would be the least interesting thing to do, it still seems to be a large draw for our attention.

Where once people could concentrate on one thing at a time, we now have mobile phones vibrating or computers beeping to entice us to take a look.

Could you live without your mobile phone now? Do you panic if you can’t find it? I know I do.

Maybe if we all left them alone for a day we might all get more done!

Have We Become Obsessed With Social Media?

It does seem as though we may have become obsessed.

The Growth of Social Media v2.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Source: The Growth of Social Media v2.0 [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s interesting to read the quote from Mark Zuckerberg featured on the infographic.

I don’t know that I’d necessarily say it improves people’s lives socially – at least not in a real world sense.

Over To You

What do you think a world without social media would look like?

Are you being social on sites like Twitter and Facebook? Do you engage with others? Or is link sharing your strategy?

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Tim Bonner

Tim Bonner is a Stay At Home Dad, Blogger and Internet Marketer. Learn more about him here.

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  • http://www.AffiliateHelp.Info Jon Rhodes

    It took me quite a while to get into social media. I never had a MySpace account. My first was Facebook. Like you I only started friending strangers when I became active with online business.

    It’s true that the vast majority of “friends” we never really engage with. It can be nice to have a nosy to see what they are up to.

    From a business perspective we’d probably do better if we chose our friends more carefully, and engaged with a select few a more.

    I’m guilty myself of going for a quantity over quality approach. We would probably be better off with 50 really good friends than 5000 distant ones.

    • Tim Bonner

      I’m of the same opinion too Jon.

      I’m growing my Twitter following every day but of the 1,700+ followers I have now, I only really speak to a hand full of them on a regular basis.

      Still, I guess with having more followers, there may be more opportunities from a business sense too.

      I don’t think many of the social media sites can really be called social any more.

      I suspect that’s why many of the younger people are leaving Facebook in droves.

      • http://www.AffiliateHelp.Info Jon Rhodes

        Funnily enough I was only talking to my 15 yo daughter last night about Facebook. Yes the younger people do seem to be abandoning it in favour of Twitter. This is probably because their parents and grandparents are all on Facebook! Not sure if this will have any significance for business, unless your niche is teens.

        I’m finding good results with Google+. This is probably because I interact in relevant communities.

        • Tim Bonner

          That’s good to hear Jon that you’re having some success with Google+.

          I’m part of a few communities there but never really got into spending any time in them!

          It’s something I need to look into a bit more I think.

  • Enstine Muki

    Interesting stats Tim!
    I think social media today is all about business (sort of business media). The social aspect of it has been reduced to short questions and short answers.

    If links are forbidden from shares and tweets, likes depreciated, etc, there will be a sudden drop. ;)

    • Tim Bonner

      In some ways, I think it’s a shame that the social aspect of social media has been diminished.

      Maybe we should rename social media to business media!

      I know many people have moved their business from their Facebook Page to their personal account.

      To me, that has made Facebook much less appealing.

  • I. C. Daniel

    Facebook is for waste timers in my opinion(only smart guys make use of Facebook to increase their audience, customers etc), I see people even talking about this(those who waste time), come on man, they just want to be popular and share all kind of pics and all stupid things they do just to attract attention, you know, just to be CO0ol! Ha! – Ha! – Ha!

    • Tim Bonner

      I use Facebook much less than I once did.

      I guess it depends on the niche you’re in as to how effective it can be.

      If I were a travel agent or a chef, I would be sharing images of my work on Facebook all the time.

  • Vineet Saxena

    Hey Tim,
    Nice infographic.
    I won’t be wrong in saying that I haven’t used social media for engagement with friends and known for a long time. Though I do get to chit chat with some of my buddies for a while.
    Over the years, social media has become a platform to promote businesses and make links and it has slightly diverted from its basic goal of socializing. Anyhow, world couldn’t have been a better place without social media.
    Thanks for sharing this with us Tim.

    • Tim Bonner

      It’s a shame that business has taken away the social aspect of social media, don’t you think Vineet?

      My Twitter feed reads like a long list of links and I see very little engagement.

      Maybe that says something about the people I follow though!

  • Susan Cooper

    It is so true, in the past before SM I would never have befriended or even known of some of the online friends I have now. I do interact with many of my new friends and it really fun getting to know people I would not ordinarily have communicated with before. So a world without SM would be very dull indeed.

    It’s a double edge sword though. I love the interactions but I spend way to much time in front of my computer as a result. My challenge is figuring out how to establish a good balance between online and not online.

    • Tim Bonner

      It is great to have online friends Susan, I agree.

      I wouldn’t have met half of the people I know now without blogging and social media.

      I still find it disconcerting though when someone requests a friendship and they’ve never engaged with me before!

      I also spend way too much time in front of the computer – which my wife complains about.

      Still, if I can at least make a passive income from being online, it won’t be such an issue.

  • George Nieves

    Hi Tim,
    I wonder if it’s a gender thing when it comes to socializing on the social media sites because my wife has made quite a few real friends out of the “Friends” she made on Facebook. I, on the other hand am more like you are. I comment here and there, but don’t seem to have very many conversations. When I do they seem to be business or political related. Actually, I try to stay out of those political ones, but sometimes you just have to jump in and make yourself heard.

    • Tim Bonner

      You could have a point there George.

      My wife does tend to be much more social on social media but then she also doesn’t use it at all from a business perspective.

      She also loves Pinterest and I don’t have any interest in it!

  • Bren

    Great one Tim! I remember life before cell phones and social media. I actually like those days better, to an extent. Social media has some good points but also some bad, in the hands of the wrong person. I hear of marriages breaking up because the spouse was surfing facebook or online porn or such so that to me is bad. However, the good is meeting and networking with so many people and making so many new friends.

    There are times I’m thankful for technology today but there are also times that I miss the good ole days. :)

    • Tim Bonner

      I’m very similar to you Bren.

      I also prefer a time before things went crazy with computers and mobile phones and social media.

      At the same time it has opened opportunities to get to know people I wouldn’t necessarily have done before.

      I’ve been spending far less time on social media just recently and I do feel better for it.

      The same with blog hopping and commenting. I almost feel like I have my life back and I’m getting more blog posts written!

  • Angela McCall

    So guess Google+ is still number #2. Last time I saw Facebook #1 and Google #2. Now Twitter is number #1. Oh well. I still remember when there was only AOL and no social media. Without the social media, people would still be using the Forum or the good ol’ email. Email will never be outdated. It will always be there.


    • Tim Bonner

      Totally agree with you Angela.

      Email will never go out of fashion and it’s still such an effective way to communicate.

      I’ve never used AOL :-)!

  • Susan Neal

    Hi Tim – interesting. I’ve got very mixed views about social media. I became engaged with it very reluctantly at first, then it became just a huge pressure. I enjoy it most when it enables me to have some real interaction with people, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. I hate all the automation and the breathtaking speed of it all – like the way you sometimes spot a post on FB, click away, and when you go back to your feed it’s nowhere to be seen!

    I also dislike the fact that there are so many different platforms – just can’t keep up with them all.

    Love the cats, though ;)

    • Tim Bonner

      That’s pretty much how I feel about social media too Sue.

      There’s very little social going on these days, particularly on Twitter and Google+ (although some of the communities I hear are pretty good for engagement).

      Twitter is now just a bunch of Triberr links and thanks yous!

      I’ve been trying to do things differently and have more conversations on Twitter in particular.

      So far, it’s been very hit and miss!

  • Nanda Rahmanius

    Hi Tim,

    In the past, I was not too concerned with social media. The first social media accounts that I have is Facebook. Initially, I have social media account by following the others, not because I wanted to have one.

    But now, social media becomes an important thing for me. Because I can interact with a variety of friends in social media, including on the business.

    If the world without social media actually happened, I think that will happen is the same as the one I had when I did not have social media accounts :)

    Thanks for raised this topic, Tim.
    This topic is a very good topic for discussion.


    • Tim Bonner

      Social media can be useful to keep in touch with people, definitely Nanda.

      I think business has taken over the timelines though and social media is no longer particularly social.

      Endless links, thank yous and ads have become the norm and engagement is less so!

      I’m trying to cut down on the links that I share and I no longer send group thank yous.

      Now I try and engage with people more but I’m having mixed results.

      That’s because engagement on social media is no longer a priority for people!

  • Josh May

    Yeah it’s honestly pretty hard for me to imagine life without social media. It’s pretty crazy how big it’s grown. From the infographic though it’s clear there is still a long ways for growth though, which can be both exciting and a little overwhelming.

    Should be interesting to see what happens though!

    • Tim Bonner

      There’s definitely room for growth in social media Josh.

      I just wonder whether the title “social” is still deserved though!

      I agree it will be interesting to see where social media goes next.

      I suspect Facebook will lose out eventually.

  • Samir

    Hello Tim,

    I guess it will look like no water in garden lol. Since we all are addicted to social media and every single person in world are using social media. There could be personal reasons or business work. In either way it’s becoming essential to everyone.


    • Tim Bonner

      I’m actually using social media much less than I did a couple of years ago Samir.

      Certainly from a personal point of view in any case.

      I use Twitter a lot but have cut down on the links I share there because endless links just clog up the feed.

  • Jeevan Jacob John

    If I didn’t know better, I would say you were trying to get me (with the weather..I have done that a few times!). Just kidding ;)

    As for socializing…yeah, I am seeing a lot of bloggers just sharing links (including me…I am trying to change it, because honestly, just sharing links is boring!).

    What I am trying to do is visualize how I would respond if I were to meet that person in real life (and if that person just told me…what they had posted – so you know, ‘replicate’ a real life conversation).

    I am not sure whether I am succeeding with it..time will tell, right ;)

    Wasting time on social media…I don’t know what to say. I do spend a lot of time on social media. Most of it related to blogging..the rest is about keeping myself updated on news, especially comics news. It’s much easier to check the pages (through interest lists) than visit each site and read the news.

    As long as we are focused, we are good to…I am definitely interested in seeing where this might lead (imagine how the world would be in 10 or 15 years? Would be become completely dependent on social media…work from home…eat from from home…and of course, socialize from home!).

    • Tim Bonner

      Sharing links is definitely just boring Jeevan!

      I applaud you for trying something different.

      I like the way you’re thinking about responding to social media messages.

      I try and ask them a question about the link they’ve shared.

      Often that spurs them on to read the actual posts if they haven’t already!

      I used to use social media to keep up with news but I just upgraded to Windows 8.1.

      Now I have all the news I want on my desktop.

      I wonder where social media will be in 10 or 15 years time as well.

      I hope it’s not all about doing things from home – that would be very boring!

  • Ashley

    Nice one Tim!
    I am not a huge fan of sharing my life on SM nor do I have many friends who do (perhaps that is why we stick together). Facebook is/was a fad most of my friends joined, and now many have not used or have abandoned altogether. My parents never got on there. And many of my close friends back in Oz either.
    The SM channels I use now are mostly purely for blogging reasons. I do sometimes get lucky and actually engage with people on there. But find it hard to really communicate. In fact lately I have done hangouts or skype with some bloggers and it has been great actually “meeting” them and perhaps even working with them online. (people from USA, Cameroon, and Peru! crazy huh).
    And now that I am almost ready to start my new web design business, I imagine that might get even crazier!

    I am also clad you have gone the infographic route and I shared it on one of my group boards on Pitnerest (now you will see real easy traffic). Pinterest is still competing hard with Twitter for me.

    I am almost done on my post too, so stay tuned Tim! (got delayed)


    • Tim Bonner

      A few of my family are on Facebook Ashley but I don’t tend to speak to them on there!

      I don’t use Facebook as much as I did. The timeline’s getting too busy. Not quite as bad as Twitter though!

      I’ve been trying to engage people more on Twitter and Google+.

      Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but I guess at least I’m giving it a go.

      I must get into hangouts and Skype. I haven’t done any.

      I’m never in the same place for long enough or I’m looking after my kids.

      Still, there will come a time I need to do that as I’m missing out!

      I reckon you’re going to do really well with your web design business.

      I need to start offering some consulting on this blog and other stuff.

      I plan to look at that before the end of the month.

      I’m trying out new stuff on my blog too like infographics more and slideshares.

      Who knows, maybe video will finally happen for me too!

  • Dan Black

    Great Infographic! I think the world would be less connected with out social media. I know I’ve been able to connect with hundreds of like minded people through Twitter and Facebook. Great thoughts!

    • Tim Bonner

      That’s true Dan. The opportunity to connect on such a global scale wouldn’t be there.

      I wonder whether we can somehow wrestle social media back from business, however?

      I use it for that purpose too but engaging more is in everyone’s best interests, I think!