I think I was one of the last people in the world to get a cell phone.
That’s not really true, but I did resist it for a long time. At first it was easy to resist: Growing up, nobody had them, so we didn’t know we needed them. Around the time I was in college, the first nationwide PCS networks began to pop up. Suddenly, you could call any number in the nation for one flat rate, and it was often cheaper than a land line. Soon, many of my friends started getting cell phones. It was still very much a novelty. They used to refer to having a mobile phone as “being in the game.” In response, I dug my heels in and resolved to never be a part of their silly game.
Now that I have a cell phone, I will probably never live without one again. A luxury is only a luxury until you get used to it, then it becomes a necessity.
There are millions of people out there who are reluctant to get into the “Facebook and Twitter game” for the same reason I didn’t want to get in the cell phone game ten years ago. Ironically, seeing other people enjoy something can sometimes make you want to do that thing even less. Freud called it a reaction formation.
People do it all the time. For example, I don’t have cable. Sure, part of me wants HBO and ESPN, but then the ego defense mechanism kicks in–“Who has time to watch all those channels? There’s never anything good on, anyway…. Remember when people used to actually read books and talk with their families? So glad I’m not like the rest of these idiots wasting their money on cable.”
I understand the resistance, and sure, you can technically live and breathe without Facebook or Twitter, but there are many reasons why the social networking game is something to consider.
The most obvious benefit I have found is being able to connect with people in a meaningful way. I’m getting the latest happenings on people I haven’t seen since middle school–pictures, videos, births, deaths, weddings. And it’s more than just random facts–people really help you out with specific questions if you ask.
Also, if you have something worth saying, an event worth attending, a video worth watching, or a product worth buying, it will gain momentum if it’s good. In the”Web 2.0″ world, it’s the quality of the content that matters more than the source. That’s why regular people get famous on YouTube everyday. When my daughter is born any day now, posting the news on Facebook and Twitter will get the word out to more people faster than any other medium available to me.
It’s good to be in touch with old friends, but Twitter in particular can also broaden your horizons. For example, Rick Warren first published “Purpose-Driven Church,” the go-to guide for pastors, back in 1995. It’s great, but what’s even better is getting his up-to-the-minute insights via Twitter. He even sent me a personal message yesterday, which was a nice surprise. Twitter allows this bestselling author and pastor of 20,000 members a way to reach out to new jacks like me. Whatever industry you work in, there are people on Twitter who can’t wait to inspire, educate, and urge you on. And, you can do the same for others.
Just some food for thought for all the Twitter and Facebook resisters out there. Are you really against all the positives, or are you resisting because everyone else is doing it?
Don’t forget, it’s free. At least I’m saving $100 a month by not getting cable. What’s your excuse?