The brand still uses Twitter as a way of dealing with customer concerns and are exploring new ways to communicate with customers. It also relies on the fact that its products are good enough that people will want them, whether they are reminded to buy them on social media or not.
He really liked his own Facebook account: “On Facebook I always felt like being a bit of a newspaper editor myself, I chose the stories I featured… I liked talking to customers at 3am… but have I missed being off it? No, weirdly, which surprises me because I spent a lot of time on it. I’m concerned I’m losing touch, but I wonder how much I was in touch or how much I was being misled.”
But he is finding other ways stay up to date. “I’ve been in business since I was in my early 20s and I know a lot of people. A lot of ex-employees would come on and chat and that was always a pleasure.
“I do miss that there was a whole set of people I would talk to on there, but I’ve made more of an effort to keep in touch on text and to make plans to get together. And I quite like just sending pictures to my kids, and that doesn’t have be on Facebook.”
He does not think that everyone should come off social media: “I think business has been very tough and I think you should weigh it up and do what is appropriate for you; it’s a personal choice.”
‘I can’t use Apple Pay on my phone, but there’s this thing called cash’
James Buckley, 20, is a trainee journalist who lives in Portsmouth
Over the past few months I’ve stepped away from my smartphone, with its endless social media, pathetic battery and alarmingly high number of unread emails. I wanted to do this because of the stream of notifications emanating from it.
To replace it, I bought an old Nokia from eBay. It started as a temporary move, to give myself more time to do academic work. But choosing sanity over Snapchat and individuality over Instagram has impacted my life in a way I wouldn’t have thought of before. It’s a lot easier to fall asleep at night now that there’s no chance of doom-scrolling through social media at 3am. And there’s a lot more free time (which I mostly spend reading, or seeing friends and family).
There have also been a lot of benefits to my mental health – I feel happier, somehow. And free from celebrities being cancelled, the constant chatter and the beeping.
Some of my friends – all of whom are in their 20s, like me – are not too happy with my decision. One refuses to use texts, another will call me hours after I call them. Another insists that I should get a smartphone again, and that “the 1990s called and it wants its phone back”.
My Nokia does have a web browser, which I use for reading the news and sending some emails – though scrolling through Facebook with the keypad is something that leaves much to be desired (something about pushing the “7” key four times for an “S” lands me on the wrong side of early 2000s nostalgia). There’s also a camera, which I’ll use occasionally (my friends like the “vintage” aesthetic), but you’d be hard pressed to make out any discernible facial features.
I am not one of those people who are constantly on top of the latest trends, so the notion of Fomo is completely alien to me. Sometimes I miss scrolling through social media, but can use my laptop for that. Obviously, it’s not as portable, so I leave it at home when I go out – which is a good thing.
Paying for things is easy as well. I can’t use Google or Apple Pay, but there’s this thing called cash: I can just count out some coins and hand them over. Although things are different in London from Portsmouth, where I live; in London shopkeepers stare at the cash in my hand as if I’ve just produced a chequebook or a Filofax.
I’m able to put music on to my phone, and it’ll play with any headphones. There’s no Spotify, YouTube or Netflix, but for a mere £25, I find that the advantages are priceless: measuring battery life in weeks rather than days; the game Snake; and it’ll outlast the apocalypse. All of which makes me feel like a “dumb phone” is rather a smart move.
Do you intend to quit or take a break from social media? Let us know in the comments below