Quitting Twitter? What People Say About Life After Social Media
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Quitting Twitter? What People Say About Life After Social Media

How does it feel to flee from the feeds? Mostly worth it, say people who ditched Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

By Dalvin Brown
Tue, May 10, 2022 9:50amGrey Clock 4 min

When Twitter Inc. accepted Elon Musk’s $61 billion offer to buy the social-media company, many frequent tweeters vowed to deactivate their accounts. For a while, it seemed like everyone on Twitter was talking about quitting Twitter.

Not too long ago, people said they would flee Instagram. Before that, it was Facebook.

With every social-media controversy, people talk about shutting down their accounts forever. Few actually do it. Roughly 70% of Americans used social media in 2021, a level that remained steady for five years, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Meta Platforms Inc. in February reported Facebook’s daily active users fell for the first time in at least a decade, but it said Wednesday that population was growing again.

Social-media apps are crafted to keep people coming back. The dopamine rush that comes from other people’s likes can leave you feeling celebratory. But there is a downside. The constant exposure to other people’s lives can hurt your body image, sleep, anxiety levels and productivity.

“Those feelings drive people to consider how much time, if any, they want to spend on social media,” said Kate Rosenblatt, senior clinical manager at Talkspace, an online therapy company.

Many people who have left Twitter, Facebook and Instagram say they are happier because of it, but they also realized they miss some things. Here is what they want others to know—both the good and the bad.

Withdrawal fades quickly.

When you’re used to checking an app every day, or multiple times a day, you sometimes mindlessly open the app and scroll through your feed.

“I was so sucked into the negative memes, clapbacks and spirals of conflict I saw on Twitter that when I first left, my muscle memory told me to open the app and start scrolling,” said Kimberly Katiti, a 28-year-old artist in North Hollywood, Calif., who quit the platform in April 2021.

“I got over that within a week,” she said. “I would just put my phone away. And before I knew it, I wasn’t getting the urge to scroll and see what’s happening in the world.”

You’re still connected to the world.

Social media started as a way to connect with friends, but the platforms evolved to become places for companies and people to share news and politics—Mr. Musk called Twitter the world’s “de facto town square.” But with that increased role came misinformation and other issues. Cutting social media out of your life may nudge you to find other sources for news. And just because you’re not on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll miss big cultural moments and trends.

“I got on Twitter in 2008 because it was a different and newer communication method,” said Christopher Britton, a 34-year-old who runs a marketing business in Inlet Beach, Fla. “At the time, I worried about not being so-called relevant.” He deleted his Twitter account in 2011, and now keeps informed via Reddit, Apple News and other sources.

“And my Messages app is just as good as any social-networking site when keeping in contact with people I know,” Mr. Britton said.

People are nicer.

You don’t have to be on social media for long to encounter Facebook rants or Twitter feuds where people you know communicate differently than they do in person. When you no longer see those posts and instead interact with people in real life, your views can change.

“It’s so much easier to post rude stuff when you’re behind a keyboard wall,” said J.J. Garcia, a 54-year-old business analyst in New Braunfels, Texas. “But in person, your neighbors seem less inclined to talk about that stuff. And you can get along with them better when you’re not seeing all their opinions online.”

You might have trouble sending or donating money.

On Facebook, you can add your payment information to buy and sell items on Marketplace, send money to family on Messenger and donate directly to causes. Leaving Facebook can make that more cumbersome, said Bobby Buchler, a 57-year-old retired high-school teacher from Las Vegas who ditched the social network in 2019.

“On Twitter, I follow organizations that rescue dogs. And they make posts saying to donate on Facebook, or they link to a post made on Facebook,” Mr. Buchler said. “But I can’t easily check it because I don’t want to go on Facebook.”

People don’t miss you—or remember your birthday.

Kristen Womack was active on Facebook and Instagram, running groups, sharing articles and operating a small-business account. But when she left Facebook in 2016 and Instagram in 2020, no one seemed to notice.

“Not one single person said, ‘Oh, wow, I don’t see you on Facebook or Instagram anymore. I miss you,’” said Ms. Womack, a 42-year-old product manager at Microsoft Corp. in Minneapolis. “Once you leave the party, it’s like you’re not missed.”

And those birthday reminders and comments on your Facebook wall? Say goodbye to them. Though doing so may not be a bad thing.

“On Facebook on my birthday, 300 people would pop up, and then you have to respond and like comments from random people,” said Verlin Campbell, a 42-year-old IT project manager in Los Angeles. “Now my interactions are more genuine. On my birthday, like 20 people texted me. I’m happier with that.”

You feel more productive.

Leaving social media gives you more free time—sometimes more than you know what to do with.

“I was surprised to realize just how much time I wasted on scrolling. You hop on your computer to write, and it’s easy to get sidetracked,” said Lindsey Zitzmann. The 39-year-old online life coach in Villard, Minn., quit Instagram in 2020.

“Now, in those in-between times when I have a few minutes, I read books, I’m more present with family, or I’ll cook without picking up my phone,” she added.

Friends drift away.

Social media can make you feel like you’re in touch with people just because you double-tapped a post, or because someone commented on one of your photos. Once you leave, some of those relationships fade.

“It makes me sad to think about it,” said Oliver Murray, 18, of Fayetteville, Ark. The freelance digital artist says he lost contact with some online friends when he deleted his Instagram account in 2019. He now shares his artwork on Tumblr and Twitter, where he doesn’t feel pressure to post constantly.

“I got annoyed with all the superficial vanity posts,” he said. “The only way I’ll go back to Instagram is if Elon Musk ruins Twitter.”

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 5, 2022.



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

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