The Margin: Why you should quit all social media right now

Cal Newport is a millennial, a computer scientist, an author, a blogger and a Georgetown professor. Sounds like the kind of guy who’d also be out there tweeting and snapping with the rest of the smartphone-wielding selfie generation.

As if!

Instead, Newport claims he’s never even had a Facebook FB, -2.03% account. Same with Snapchat and Twitter TWTR, +1.65% In fact, he believes you, too, should join him in unplugging from the “flimflam” and “snake oil” of social media.

“More people should follow my lead and quit these services. There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness, but the argument I want to make here is more pragmatic: You should quit social media because it can hurt your career.”

Cal Newport

He shared his views in a piece for the New York Times that, of course, drew plenty of attention on — where else? — social media.

“In a capitalist economy, the market rewards things that are rare and valuable,” Newport continued. “Social media use is decidedly not rare or valuable. Any 16-year-old with a smartphone can invent a hashtag or repost a viral article.”

Rather than engaging in the “fundamentally passive approach” to advancing your career, he says you should heed this quote from comedian Steve Martin: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

If you do that, he says, nobody will care about the size of your Instagram following.

Social media “diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter,” Newport said.

“If you’re serious about making an impact in the world,” he added, “power down your smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to work.”

And in case you’re not, check out MarketWatch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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