News & Reviews News Do you need social media to succeed?

I hate social media. I never created Twitter or TikTok accounts and have long since deleted my Facebook and LinkedIn.  I have no personal social media accounts. However, I’ve kept my Instagram for business purposes.  So I still hate social media, right?  I don’t think so.  That’d be like an addiction counsellor getting smashed on smack as it improved his job performance.

Yet everywhere I turn, I see the negative impact of it (social media, not cocaine), which I frequently bat away, knowing I’m ok, as I only use it for business (again, not cocaine). Claiming my superiority with an “I don’t use social media, except….” is like “I’m not a cannibal, except when it comes to strangers”.

I saw this insightful piece in the Financial Times about the widespread dislike for social media and the difficulty of quitting it.  Here’s the gist of it.

Economists Bursztyn, Handel, Jimenez, and Roth describe social media as a “collective trap”. If you dislike platforms like Instagram or Facebook but use them because friends do, you might continue despite preferring their nonexistence.  In an experiment, students required around $50 to deactivate their TikTok and Instagram accounts for four weeks. Yet, if all university students were mandated to deactivate, those same students would pay about $50 to avoid social media for a month. 

People would pay to not be on social media.  Think about how nuts that is.  If everyone that disliked me paid me to avoid them, I would be the richest man in the world.  But this isn’t about me.  So, I thought I would spend more than my five-second attention span really thinking about it and whether I even want to engage with social media anymore.  The question became “why?” rather than “why not?” and I couldn’t come up with a good enough reason.

I deleted Instagram from my phone three weeks ago, just to see if anything would happen.  Nothing.  Did all our enquiries suddenly dry up?  No.  Will all the people who messaged us in that time, asking for free advice in order to book their next trip with their own travel agents, think worse of us?  Probably.  But the next time I sit down on a toilet, it will be with absolute dedication to the task at hand rather than checking what my favourite luxury hotel brand has to say about the social issue of the moment.

Instead I can now post endlessly on the original social media: blogging.

We are bullshit

…to steal a line from Succession.  Now it’s no secret that I hate influencers.  It’s an absolute bullshit industry of fakeness that makes speaking to a Russian bot seem more intellectually stimulating.  But what an influencer is doesn’t quite feel so black and white anymore. There’s an incessant pressure to sell or market everything as the best.  It’s just an ever-bigger overload of exaggerated information and lies.

Don’t worry, this isn’t my preach that you should get rid of it.  You do you.  There will be many lovely stories out there regarding the positives of social media.  If it brings you in business and you enjoy it, go for it, but the more conversations I have about it, the more it seems it’s a perceived necessary evil – they feel you have to use it.  So it’s either something they feel they need to do, or it actually does bring in customers, and you’re stuck with it.  We’re fortunate that all our customers are the best, most loyal people in the entire world (not even pandering, it’s factually true), and this blog brings in new enquiries, so I appreciate, as I often do, I’m speaking from a position of privilege.  But knowing all that, I think it’s even more important that I stop continuing with something that seems to offer so little but takes so much from us.


Maybe I’ll go down as the guy who looked at the Internet and thought, “Looks shit – that’ll never work”, and went back to his newspaper.  All the same, I’m about to perform a social experiment.  It’s called talking to a person face-to-face.

I jest, of course, I plan on speaking to no one ever again.  So long, see you…well, here, actually.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 17th Apr '24

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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