Over the past decade or so, technology and social media have become the be all and end all of our mere mortal existence. If you haven’t been bang up to date with the latest hot topic gadgets or busy racking up thousands of followers on your online profiles, do you even really deserve to call yourself human? However, this could all be about to change as the modern consumer begins to seek refuge in old fashioned privacy and anonymity.
We have become a nation, no a species, ruled by modern technology and judged by our ability to deliver likeable, shareable and retweetable content via the digital versions of ourselves that inhabit the wonderful world of cyber space. It has been pretty much the same when it comes to business too. Facebook recognition, Twitter popularity and Instagram fame have all become increasingly influential in the success of many brands. This social media phenomenon has opened the door to a whole new world of digital endorsements and widespread exposure for brands and has quite literally revolutionised the way we do business.
‘Social media suicide’
However, it seems that for the first time in more than a decade, the tides are beginning to change and those that have previously laid themselves out bare across social media (some only theoretically, others not) are now pursuing retreat. Lots of those once-loyal members of the digital generation seem to be deserting the social sphere in what some have already coined a ‘social media suicide’.
This social media suicide appears to have come from a sudden concern about developing an unhealthy obsession with checking and updating social profiles, the widespread FOMO (fear of missing out) pandemic and dependence on all things digital. People are becoming increasingly effected by the highlight reel of enviable items others are sharing on their personal profiles, which has led to feelings of inferiority and jealousy that they are now looking to eliminate from their complicated lives.
This seems to have also leaked into a mistrust of brands and business profiles as social media users grow sick of the clickbait links and repetitive content that fills their feeds on a daily basis. Those committing this so-called ‘social media suicide’ are looking for an escape from the noise and are instead running towards the sanctuary of privacy and anonymity by deleting their own digital identities.
The new NoPhone ZERO
With this move away from overexposure to social media and a newfound desire to cut ties with the cyber world comes a direct drop in preoccupation with the devices that enable our access to the digital realm. In fact this week, something known as the NoPhone ZERO has been making headlines as “a technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact that allows you to stay connected with the real world”. This $10 chunk of material is “a plastic rectangle that replaces the need for smart rectangle device interaction” by ironically emulating the infamous iPhone.
The product description explains that those who order a NoPhone get one of these plastic rectangles along with “more of your attention” and “real friends”. Part of what you don’t get is “location tracking”, “data overages” and “texting your ex”. People now want more authentic connections with real people in the real world but where does this leave those businesses who have come to rely so heavily on social media and technology to promote their products and services?
What does this mean for business?
Forget zombie apocalypses and spine-chilling atomic conspiracies, this could be the end of the world as we know it if Generation Z continues to turn its back on the digital world. Social media has become one of (if not the) most effective forms of marketing as they are (mostly) free to use and capture a colossal consumer base. There are countless articles and listicles flying around the World Wide Web championing the benefits of social media for business but maybe it’s time to start exploring what companies can do when their previous digital demographic jumps ship.
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