Traditional social media isn’t for everyone

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

While Facebook isn’t the newest or trendiest social media, it appears to be the main form of communication for many Slave Lake businesses, non-profits, and the Town of Slave Lake. However, not everyone has Facebook.
Some young people only use it to keep in touch with their grandparents.
There are people in Slave Lake who don’t use Facebook or other traditional social media.

Asked what it is like to not have Facebook, Jo Stewart says, “it’s glorious.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many businesses, and activities have gone online. In Slave Lake, the most popular platforms are Facebook and a video conferencing service called Zoom.

Many people find information on Facebook or other social media.

Non-social media users can’t be “passive,” says Stewart. The other weekend, there were helicopters flying low in town, so she called a neighbour who was connected with the fire department to find out what was happening.

Dave Symington, another non-social media user, starts his news hunt each morning on CBC’s website, then checks out some other reputable sources.

Symington thinks he might have a Facebook account, but never goes on it.
Even when he used it, he’d look at it for 20 minutes every six months or so.

“The hook never got in,” he says. He has a landline and email, if people want to get hold of him.

Both Stewart and Symington have Zoom. Symington downloaded it when his church went digital after COVID-19.

“It’s okay,” he says. “It’s pretty simple.” He doesn’t bother sharing video. He just uses the mute and unmute button. He misses singing in a group at church and “swapping lies” during the coffee time after church.

Stewart uses Zoom once in a while to connect with her knitting group, which used to meet weekly in Slave Lake.
While Forbes defines Zoom as social media, it has a few differences from traditional ones like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Its main focus is real time video interactions not sharing content. However, since its is a digital tool for social networking it is social media.

In 2010, Stewart had Facebook for about two weeks. At the time, she was working at a university in Ontario. Several students she’d gotten to know were going on a foreign exchange trip and asked her to get Facebook, so they could keep in touch.

Stewart found social media “impersonal” and wasn’t comfortable putting her information out their for anyone to find. She prefers email and has had the same email address for a long time.

“Since email was invented,” she says.

Email is electronic communication, but not social media. Although businesses use both for marketing.

Periodically, Stewart sends out personal emails to people she’s met through the years from Kansas to the Yukon. Some email her back and some don’t.
Stewart used some other forms of social media in the past for work. As soon as Stewart retired, she deleted her LinkedIn account. To her it didn’t seem social, although she knows people who post on it all the time.

“I’m very much an introvert,” Stewart says. Being an introvert isn’t about being shy. It’s about getting energy from being alone.

Stewart enjoys connecting with people face-to-face.

When people use social media, says Stewart, they think they are connecting with people, but really they’re connecting with a computer. Computers don’t get innuendo or sarcasm. A lot of communication is through body language.

Symington defines himself is not an “overly chatty person.” He is involved in church once a week, the Slave Lake Musical Theatre, and Stage North.
These usually fills his need for social interaction. Musical theatre and Stage North have been put on hold, but both groups are making plans for the future.

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