Some of you may have wondered at one point: Why is Antoni not on Facebook like everybody else? How come he quit Instagram if he loves photography? Wasn’t he very active on Twitter as well? There are several reasons why I’m not on social media on a personal level. I guess I “loved” it so much that I ended up hating it even more, just like when I used to be a smoker.
Besides this website and various profiles on professional associations, you’ll only find me on LinkedIn nowadays. Even so, I’m just there because it’s proven helpful for my business goals. While I don’t rule out entirely the possibility of increasing my social media presence strictly for business purposes, I don’t see it happening in the near future.*
In the early-to-mid 2000s, I began using Fotolog and MySpace for personal use, but I resisted Facebook and Twitter until 2010-2011. One of the reasons was my reticence to reveal personal data, which I only did for secure financial and legal transactions. I didn’t want to share specific information due to privacy and safety concerns.
For instance, Facebook eventually changed the way we used the Internet and data became a commodity. Suddenly, everybody seemed to be baring it all online. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the possibility of people that I had lost contact with years ago easily tracking me down. I wanted to continue having a quasi-anonymous, semi-private presence on the net.
From 2011 through 2015, I worked for Banco Sabadell as a social media manager. I played a crucial role in shaping and managing an award-winning multilingual customer service on social networks, moderating an online forum for ideas and suggestions, and creating digital content. That led me to contribute to the bank’s strategy to improve customer loyalty, attract new prospects, and promote a 24/7 communication channel.
Additionally, I was simultaneously in charge of the digital media strategy for BPM Traducciones—the brand that I created and operated as a partnership to provide language services from 2011 through 2016.
My contribution as a multilingual professional proved essential for Banco Sabadell to offer services in several languages. That led to bigger audiences and more user engagement, which generated greater revenues for the bank. I also experienced firsthand the merger of five banks and the expansion to several countries.
That experience taught me about business management, marketing, and digital reputation. A brand needs to listen to its online audience so they can offer tailored content that meets their needs. That gives a positive image of the company, especially if one includes agents that will provide answers to users’ queries in less than one hour. I could easily see why social media became the new market niche for certain businesses.
I also learned that the best brand ambassadors are its own employees, so I gave in: I joined Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and tried many other platforms. I combined my personal and professional sides on them. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it was to use social media, how accessible information was all of a sudden, how cool some of the shared contents could be, and how it seemed to be suited for my needs and interests.
At first, I found social media interesting. I’d spend hours reading, looking, and writing almost every day. My knowledge increased. I found a vehicle to share my opinions and experiences. I almost felt that I could help change the world through it. Even the possibility of reconnecting with some people suddenly seemed attractive. I especially liked the variety of tools one could use to communicate with others.
I believed I could develop my career as a social media manager. I even considered abandoning my quest to become an established language services provider. After all, it had only been working for me as a part-time job while based in Barcelona. Luckily, life had different plans for me.
Regarding privacy, Facebook offered customization options. It was perfect: I could create groups and choose what they could see. That, however, would end up becoming a burden. I also started noticing that communication was becoming unidirectional: many users were viewing my content, but I didn’t feel we were actually in touch. I chose to delete my account in 2014 and see who would genuinely keep in touch.
Since I love taking pictures, I began using Instagram in 2015. I kept it for a couple of years until I realized that I didn’t need to document my life to prove it. You can choose to live an experience to the fullest the moment it’s happening. I don’t believe in sharing an embellished version of an experience publicly that will serve as a validation tool according to the number of views, likes, and comments.
Twitter was my favorite social network. It quickly became my primary source of news. It also helped me distribute my content and connect with some interesting people. As the years went by, though, Twitter became more and more infected with trolls. Many users that I followed were increasingly getting hooked on engaging in non-constructive arguments with strangers. It was giving me anxiety, so I deactivated it after six years of use.
Although closing my accounts in early 2017 resulted in losing contact with many people, it was the right decision for me. The people that I’m closest to had been and continue being in touch with me. If I can’t meet them in person, there are still phone/video calls, emails, text messages, and snail-mail.
I know that social media can provide many benefits, but I’m not that interested. I’d rather use my time to live my life and get straight to work. I find that my life is better without it. After all, I tend to shy away from products that are enhanced to promote addictive behaviors:
*As of August of 2019, I began managing a Twitter account for my business AM Language Services.