1) Because I don’t like it. I abhor social media in all its forms. While I use it as a tool — a way to find people knowledgeable about certain topics and to allow others in media with a quick and easy way to find me — it’s not something that I’ve ever found myself enjoying doing.
2) The time input / benefit output is extremely imbalanced to the former. The amount of time it takes to cultivate a social media following extreme and the true benefit of that following FOR THE THE TYPE OF CONTENT THAT I PRODUCE is negligible. How many clicks to I get to my blog? How much do I earn from those clicks? How many hours did it take me to get those clicks? I’ve tested this a few times over the years and it never comes out favorably enough to invest time into social media. That said, if I was in a vertical that was hot on social media or I was selling something my results may have differed. As it is, I would rather be creating content that adds real value to the ecosystem and lasts.
3) If you want traffic from social media you have to pay for it. Facebook and the lot started out on the premise that if we provided free content they would give us free traffic. The companies have since reneged on this deal. If you are promoting a site or page nobody will see it unless you pay for a promotion. This doesn’t add up if your site’s business model is ad revenue (you will pay more for advertising than you can make). However, I probably should have paid to promote my Ghost Cities book on social media more.
4) The algorithms are a secret and are always changing. One day you may be doing well on social media — reeling in the views, subs, and clicks — and the next day you could be banished into irrelevance. There is no way to predict what direction FB, YT, Twitter, and their ilk are going to go in, but what is clear is that they don’t give a shit about the hopes, dreams, and investments of their creator base. They are going to do what it take to make the most money possible, and PLENTY of creators have become collateral damage. How can you invest time or money into such ecosystems?
5) Because I don’t like arguing with people. It seems as if the people who are most attracted to social media are those who really enjoy fighting with people. While I enjoy sharing my opinions and going back and forth with a colleague who’s well-educated on the topics that I cover — that’s one way you learn — I don’t find it worth defending myself against zealots with a cursory knowledge of the discussion that they’ve gleaned from the mainstream news. Also, such discussions tend to go nowhere, and you get the repeated impression that you’re not talking with someone who wants to learn from you but someone who gets off on trying to prove themselves right. I can’t imagine how big of a loser someone needs to be to go around picking fights on Twitter. Do you really have nothing better to be doing with your life?
This leads me to my main critique: the main social media platforms are not the kind of environments that I deem to be positive sources of exchange and communication. They are not making people smarter or more worldly but are simply platforms for zealots trying to force their morality on other people. It reminds me of the way people acted during the Cultural Revolution. There is nothing fertile about it, so I opt out.
This blog does well enough without a social media presence. By traffic numbers, this is still one of the most successful travel themed blogs on the planet… which is a testament to the fact that there are many others out there whose guts wretch at the hint of Facebook.
Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. Wade Shepard has written 3563 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
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I’m an itinerant writer who has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I wrote Ghost Cities of China, a book which chronicles the two years that I spent in China’s new cities, and have another book about the New Silk Road coming out soon. I’m a regular contributor to Forbes, The Guardian, and the South China Morning Post, and I have been featured on BBC World, VICE, NPR Morning Edition, CNBC Squawk Box, CBC The Current … This is my personal blog where I share stories from the road that don’t fit in anywhere else. In other words, this is my daily diary, raw and real — it is not edited or even proofread. Subscribe below.