Is there a future for smartphone users who reject social media?
In this day and age, it seems crazy to not have some sort of online presence on at least one social medium. If you don’t have a Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or some other social account, you’re a practical ghost.
Do something that puts you in the limelight, and people might start comparing you to the James Holmes of this world and demand you see a therapist to repair your mental health issue before you do something unthinkable.
But let’s rewind it a bit. Some people simply don’t like to interact with people online.
It may be difficult to wrap your head around, but not everyone likes sharing pictures of their lunch with the entire world. Not everyone wants their friends and family know they’ve arrived at the coffee shop in the morning or that they went out to a bar with their friends later that night.
However, it’s becoming more and more difficult not to have some sort of footprint online, to have a social account of some sort, especially for mobile users.
At every turn, you’re prompted to sign in to your Facebook account to access this app, or login to Twitter to be able to use some extended feature of an app.
For example, Asphalt 8. It’s not just any ol’ third-person racer. It’s a social racing game. When you complete your first race, you’re prompted to login to Facebook or Google+ and share your results with friends, and you’re constantly pressured to try and beat their times after you give in to the social beast.
Real Racing 3 is similar in that it heavily relies on the social aspect of the game. It’s an online racer, and you have to share to some degree to even use the app, though it doesn’t necessarily require you to login to your Twitter or Facebook account.
Google is one of the worst about this incessant pressuring to use its social platform and share. When you setup your Android smartphone, you’re prompted to login to a Google account. When you do, if you have yet to succumb to Google’s social platform, Google+, it practically begs you to sign up. And the new Photos application from Google, which is rapidly replacing the native Gallery application on Android devices around the globe, also insists you sign in to your (or sign up for) Google+ to get the full effect of the cloud-synced photos app. It gives you access to your Google+ backups through the Highlights tab, local photos stored on the device, Google Drive photos, Auto Awesome photos, and Google+ photos of you from other users. Of course, Photos still works if you don’t have a Google+ account, but only for local photos.
Another example of Google muscling Google+ into people’s lives is YouTube comments. If you don’t have a Google+ account, you’re ineligible to leave comments on YouTube.
And this sort of persistent social requirement can be found throughout the mobile industry. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better for users who don’t want or need to plaster their social lives all over the Internet.
There is a quick and simple solution to it all: create dummy accounts simply for applications and services, and leave them completely bare.’
At times, I wish I had done this a long time ago, before I added Facebook integration to dozens of applications. That said, social integration and requirements don’t bother me … at all. I’m the complete opposite of those who reject social media. I constantly share to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram virtually all day every day. I’m an extreme case of an overly social person.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel for those who don’t care to share their lives on the Internet with strangers. And it doesn’t mean I agree with the social media requirements of mobile users.
Contests and giveaways often require you to login via Twitter or Facebook, to like a page of follow an account. Basically, if you’re not on social media, you’re bound to miss out on a ton of opportunities. But that’s not necessarily how it should be.
Tell me, readers. Do you ever feel your hand is forced into social media? Do you wish you could take full advantage of all the apps and games out there without having to have some sort of social presence? Better yet, how many of you have setup dummy accounts just to circumvent a mandatory social login?