The ‘Non-aligned’: Young People’s Narratives of Rejection of Social Networking Sites

Barbara Barbosa Neves, João Monteiro de Matos, Rita Rente, Sara Lopes Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines young people’s narratives of rejection of social networking sites (SNSs). It draws upon data of 30 semi-structured interviews with young people aged 18–26 from Portugal. The findings show that reasons for rejecting SNSs are related to three main categories: perceived usefulness of SNSs; specific social practices in SNSs (e.g., disclosure of personal data and gossip); and self-presentation and identity. In addition, our data point to four types of non-users: resisters, rejecters, surrogate users, and potential converts. This typology challenges dichotomies, such as, usage versus non-usage, access versus non-access, and consumption versus non-consumption. Finally, we explore feelings of missing out and social strategies set in place by non-users to cope with the pervasive use of SNSs among young people. We contribute, therefore, to the limited literature on rejection of social media amongst this group, by giving voice to young non-users and their choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-135
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Facebook
  • non-users
  • perceived usefulness
  • self-presentation
  • social identity
  • social networking sites
  • social practices
  • technology adoption
  • technology rejection
  • young people

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