The Courier-Mail - QWeekend

WILLIAM MCINNES WHY I SHUN SOCIAL MEDIA

- WILLIAM McINNES William McInnes is an actor and author

While out and about flogging a book I had written, a pleasant journalist asked me where I could “be found on social media”. I replied I had no idea. She was aghast. No Facebook? No Instagram? No Twitter handle? No, I said.

How on earth do you manage?

Quite handily I admitted.

How do you connect? she asked.

I just stared. “With people?” she said. I admitted I managed well enough.

I have nothing against social media platforms, for it’s just another way of catching up and sharing informatio­n. I am still moved by the image posted on social media of Queensland Ambulance staff stopping to let an ill patient they were transporti­ng to hospital take in the view of the ocean. However, like most human endeavours, social media tends to descend to the lowest common denominato­r. It has a tendency to be a mix of people staying in touch while also being chock full of showboatin­g, selfobsess­ed folk, scammers, sycophants, conspiracy theorists and people who want to show how much weight they have lost. And good for them.

I am working with a pal who is constantly, in his words, tending to “the socials”, taking selfies, whipping off tweets and posting on Instagram.

“It’s the way of the world, Will, how business is done.” In his case, social media is more of a commercial propositio­n. He promotes an image of himself as a public figure his “followers” buy into and enjoy. Follower. It’s all very cultish, you’re the social media messiah and you have your followers.

Seeking affirmatio­n through social media posts seems to be a rather pathetic way of going about your business, but as my acting chum says, “Not everyone wants to be an old school analogue curmudgeon like you, Will.”

But why on earth anybody wants to be “connected” all the time is beyond me. Disappeari­ng into your own imaginatio­n, or simply enjoying your own thoughts and company is one of the great joys of being a human being.

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