We live in an age where people are hired for their coding skills and an Instagrammer is a profession.
Nowadays it seems like every other person – or millennial at least – has a blog, tweets incessantly and has hundreds of connections on LinkedIn.
What’s more, we hear countless stories of people who’ve found jobs after seeing a certain tweet as well as those who’ve been directly recruited after being found online.
Yes, it’s generally agreed that having a strong social media presence is an essential part of building your personal brand – after all, it’s no secret that employers google job applicants so if you can create a positive image on social media, surely that’s going to work in your favour, right?
Wrong, according to author and associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University, Cal Newport.
Having never had a social media account himself, Newport is calling on us to quit social networks to benefit our careers.
His main reason is that exactly because everyone has a social media presence these days, we’d be more interesting if we didn’t: “In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable. Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable,” he explained in an article for the New York Times.
In fact, Newport actively believes that using social media is decreasing our employability largely because it reduces our attention spans and ability to focus on one task at a time. Social media is addictive, he argues, and is making us get bored all too easily.
What’s more, he argues that we really don’t need to use social media to find opportunities and offers: “In my own professional life, for example, as I improved my standing as an academic and a writer, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle,” he writes.
However you could infer from that that when starting out in his career Newport wasn’t so inundated with opportunities.
With every Like or Retweet, we get a rush of excitement and satisfaction, but Newport believes craving these is a completely unproductive use of our time: “Most social media is best described as a collection of somewhat trivial entertainment services that are currently having a good run,” he writes.
So if you’re after a promotion or new job, it might be time to step away from Snapchat and say farewell to Facebook.
Read more at independent