I joined Facebook on March 5, 2007. 15 years ago.
I joined Instagram on October 18, 2013. 9 years ago.
And those 2 social platforms are pretty much where I hang my online hat. And as of July 24, 2022 – I stopped engaging on either platform to take a 2 week break. We were on holidays and I just didn’t want the added pressure of posting, making sure I’m not putting too much in a story, hiding my kids faces, hiding the fact that we weren’t at home. It really had gotten to be too much for me, and I needed a break. A mental break, if I’m being real.
I was just tired of the influx of advertisements, the influencer woes and celebrations on the daily, the constant bombardment of doing the hustle and being everything to everyone. It is just not sustainable for me. And it was starting to take a toll on my mental health.
Which really makes me wonder why something that requires a break for mental health is something we entertain at all. But that’s a blog for another day.
I had reservations about taking a 2 week break. And I should qualify that my ‘break’ means that I am not posting. I still check my recipe accounts on IG as we eat fairly clean and vegan, and it’s a good place for me to find easy, sustainable recipes that I can actually make. I do check notifications about 3 or 4 times a week, mostly for the groups I am a part of. What I have stopped doing is posting, commenting, messaging and mindlessly scrolling. I do not follow rabbit holes to purchase something that I do not need at 11pm on a random Tuesday night. I am mindful when I open the app, and I set a timer for 6 minutes so that I stay on track. And I’m happy to report that the 2 week break has turned into 5 weeks with no end in sight.
I don’t miss Facebook or Instagram. I thought I would. I thought that those followers kept me going on lonely days, and that the friendships I had from social were real. I don’t think they were. They were social platform friendships, and when the social platform is gone … well, you know how it ends.
I have learned quite a bit about my relationship with social media in the past 5 weeks, and it’s not all good. But here it goes anyway.
I’m not interested in a popularity contest. And not just mine. It’s the audiences we try to build, and the followers we try to accommodate … and they can be fickle. They will leave you, in a cancel culture kind of way, if you have an opinion that is not popular. I don’t agree with everything that everyone posts, it’s impossible to even imagine that. I also understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Remember free speech, um it goes with free thought. Regardless of what I believe and think. I was very tired of seeing people get canceled because they just didn’t follow the popular opinion.
Do I think that not supporting an LGBTQ+ request for donation by one man writing a very damaging letter is appropriate? No.
Do I think that the business of 44+ years (with 50+ employees) should be threatened to close it’s doors because of it? No. Absolutely not.
But, that is the power of social media and the online game. And his opinion was not the popular one. Were hurtful words said? Yes. Was that private letter then shown to the masses online in hopes of retaliation? You can answer that one.
I am protecting my energy. Thank you Jay Shetty for this. We only get a certain amount of energy each day, and you can recharge (much like an iphone) but it drains again every single day. I would rather give my energy to my family, my self, my coaching clients, and honestly, conversations with strangers at a store counter. Giving my energy to a platform that is designed to hold, and drain my energy seems counterproductive. I’m just not going to do it. This break has shown me what is possible with energy when I don’t drain it mindlessly.
I mean, what did I think was going to happen? Really, was I going to build my coaching practice through FB? Or maybe IG was going to start rolling in the dm’s and get new clients for me. That is false narrative, and I have no proof or evidence to support me ever building my business through those 2 social media platforms. It stopped me from doing the things I should be doing, and made me falsely believe that posting a reel to IG would help me. Mostly, the “Karen’s” of the world came out to mention a spelling mistake, or ask me if I’m too lazy to cut onions because I buy them frozen. Again, a break was needed.
What has happened in the last 5 weeks?
Well, I’ve read 4 books and I’m on my 5th.
I have sat and talked with my kids more times than I can count. Real, mindful, present conversations.
I have walked and ran over 100 miles, averaging over 9000 steps / day.
I have enrolled Jay Shetty’s Certification program and given it my all. I have passed 2 (of 13) exams with 91%, and 100%.
I think the biggest change is my energy throughout the day. I wear a Garmin watch, and it tells me my body battery. Most days, I get down to less than 10 left in my tank, out of 100. And that is without social platforms. Imagine what I would be missing out on if I still used a chunk of energy managing them.
My promise moving forward is to only check IG and FB once a week. For about 20 minutes total. The real goal is to move completely off it it, you know, old school. Before 2007.
Now, if you are a social media warrior, I applaud you. This is my story, and my experience. Which has nothing to do with yours. That’s the beauty of life, we are all unique, we are all different, and we all get to experience things for ourselves. But, if you have wondered about going social platform free and want to chat, I’m here. Probably reading, running or talking to my kids. 🙂