Just over a year ago I quit all of social media to see what it would be like without it in my life. (You can read more about that here). For 5-months I didn’t log into Facebook, Instagram, tumblr or anything else and instead explored other ways to market my business and found old creative outlets. I will always consider this time as the moment that changed everything.
Stepping away from social allowed me the space to reconnect with my art and in turn transformed my business from being strictly a service based business (Marketing consultant) to a predominately products based business (art + home decor) with a small portion of my brand being service based (The handful of marketing clients I still take on and brand photography). But with the change in business meant a stronger need for social media in my marketing strategy…thus begins the endless cycle.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about social media during my time on and off it. Social Media has an amazing way of connecting us. I’ve met incredible business owners who have helped me in my own business as well as a handful of customers whom have purchased from me. At the same time it’s addicting. Just like many things in our culture (alcohol, T.V., fixer upper shows, and a good bar of chocolate) it will pull us in and never let us go, that’s how its creators make money. But like the good adults that we are, we know that we need boundaries with it.
The time back on social media is a constant reminder to be intentional with how I’m using it and to be aware of how it’s using me. I’ll get dragged into comparison thoughts, obsess over numbers like followers and engagement, and even try to compete in the Reel game when I don’t even like reels. But what it all comes back to (like it always does) is tuning in and listening to what my body needs. I’m quite aware when the apps become toxic and make me feel less than, my goal is to leave the apps before they have the chance to do that.
In a recent yoga class I taught, I talked about gut instinct. I’ve been diving deep into this idea as I learn more about my Human Design (a cross between personality test and star chart). Whenever I’m not sure about something or feeling overwhelmed I need to go back to basic “either/or” questions that my body can quickly answer. That gut instinct response that comes without giving you time to think.
This game can be played with anything you do in life (Do I want Mexican or Italian for dinner, should I chop off all my hair, should I take job A or B?) but it works with social media too. Questions like:
- Is this app serving me right now?
- Do I feel better or worst about myself since being logging on?
- Am I finding true connection right now?
- Would my time be better spent somewhere else?
This tool can be used as an easy way to check in with yourself and see what you need in any given moment, whether it be related to social media or not. But using this while being on social has allowed me to create clear boundaries based on how I’m feeling any given day or based on what content I’m consuming in that moment.
During my time away from social, I learned that social media is a part of this culture. That much is not likely to change anytime soon. So how can I still be engaged with something so engrained into our culture without letting it control me? The answer I found was to show up as authentically as I can, to tune-in and know how it’s affecting me, and to apply boundaries wherever I can (the limited number of accounts I can follow has been golden!) Basically, to go slow and be intentional. It always comes back to that.