Over the last couple of months, I have made it a point to be on social media less and less. Last week I decided to take it one step further and make that break more permanent. I deleted the apps from my phone, and purposefully haven’t checked anything, just has an experiment. What I realized, is that being on these platforms so much was draining my energy and keeping me from really serving my purpose fully. So officially, my relationship with social media is changing. My goal of putting positive, helpful content out there, and sending smiles and encouragement hasn’t changed. I’m just tweaking how I go about doing that a little bit.
Because I have to admit, I got sucked in. I fell down the rabbit hole…many times.
It always started with the best of intentions…post a picture and some words that I thought would give people a smile, or encourage them, and then move on to get other things done. But then, I would start scrolling.
There was never a shortage of quotes to read and amazing pictures to see. I wanted to support my fellow content creators and business owners, so I tried to like, comment, share, and do all the things that I knew would help their accounts survive and grow, for every person I could.
But the longer I was on there, the more disconnected and drained I felt. In essence, I was no longer present.
My biggest resistance to making the break more permanent was fear and my ego.
It’s not easy at first. We have become so programmed to grab our phones when we’re feeling bored or uncomfortable. Or if we get a notification, we almost can’t resist seeing what it says and clicking through. The notifications give you just enough information to hook you in, but not enough to actually tell you anything without going onto the platform. Because of this, I was constantly looking at my phone. When I posted something, I was checking for comments and trying to answer them quickly. When someone else posted, I wanted to like and comment quickly to help them.
If I didn’t click into the platforms and at least check my notification list a few times a day, I felt like I was missing out. If I didn’t scroll all the way through my feed, and like everyone’s pictures, and comment, I felt like I wasn’t being supportive of others. If I took a day away from social media, it felt like I was being selfish.
My ego poked at me, “If you’re not on social media, no one will be able to find you. You need those likes, comments, and all of that to succeed”. But I finally realized that my ego is like someone who is doing things just to get attention, someone who doesn’t care about how what they are doing affects you overall.
Just like those people in your life, who drain your energy when you’re around them, who demand your time without regard for your well-being, you have to set boundaries with yourself.
And in the same way that people often bite back when we set boundaries with them, our egos bite back when we set boundaries with ourselves.
All of those things that I was feeling were my ego and my fear pushing against any boundaries I was trying to set.
Taking time for myself is not selfish, it’s self-care. There are other ways to be supportive of those around me, that don’t involve draining my energy. And no matter which way I went, I could say that I was missing out on something. Either I’m out, experiencing things and missing out on what people post, or I’m seeing what people post and missing out on experiencing things.
I want to be able to help people; to give people a smile. My whole goal in starting The Novel Turtle was to help people find and create their happiest lives. But if I’m doing that to the detriment of myself, it’s not going to last very long.
So, I have to trust that, if this is something that my intuition has told me to do, then it will work out. Instead of fear, I’ll have faith in the universe, and in my own abilities.
How will this change what I’m doing?
For starters, I won’t be posting anything on social media that you can’t find somewhere else (either through email and/or on my website). That way, if you choose not to spend time on those platforms, you can still get the same inspiration and know what is going on in The Novel Turtle world.
The primary way that I will connect with people is through email. So if you enjoy my content, and would like to join me, be sure to sign up for my Happy Mail emails (at the bottom of the page or on the side of the page – depending on which device you’re using).
My goal is to get back to sending out weekly emails (once or twice a week), and creating longer form content, like my blog posts. I may still post things on social media from time to time, but only when I feel like what I post will be beneficial to people. I’m not going to be posting every day, or trying to always keep something in my stories.
I’ll still be checking in on my favorite accounts sometimes, but the minute I feel myself disconnect from the present, I will back away.
In light of that, I may not answer comments or DMs as quickly. I apologize in advance. If you want to email me, email@example.com, I will answer there much faster. If there is some way that I can support you more personally (through donations, collaborations on giveaways, support for something that you are doing, etc.), please send me a personal message so I’m sure to see it.
I want to support you more, in the best way that I can, while still being true to myself.
At this point, this is the way that I feel is best. All of these social media platforms are great in their own way, but they are also a business, driven by making money and keeping people on their particular platform. They aren’t entirely wrong…just wrong for me at this point.
I want to support people’s mental health and well-being just as much as my own, and I don’t feel like I can properly do that there.
And please don’t think that I’m bashing anyone who is on social media, or trying to make anyone feel bad. Everyone needs to find what is right for them, and make decisions for their lives based on that. If social media is your jam…jam on. I support whatever each person feels is best for them. Like I said, it’s not wrong, just wrong for me.
This is what I’m feeling more led to do right now…to be more present in my life.
That doesn’t mean watching the news, or getting sucked into something else unhealthy, but finding things that I enjoy doing and doing them, just for the sake of enjoyment. I want to just enjoy being, and finding those things each day that bring a smile. And I want that for you as well.
If you are happy, and social media is your thing, do you. But if you are questioning at all, I would encourage you to take a break.
Delete the apps from your phone for a few days and see how you feel. At the very least, turn off any and all notifications. That way you aren’t tempted to look at each one of them. Find other ways to work through the boredom or uncomfortable feelings that make you want to grab your phone. Try finding new things you might enjoy doing, or a way that you can reach out to people and make them smile, that doesn’t require social media. Take a walk, read that book you’ve been wanting to read, plant some flowers. The possibilities are endless.
I would also invite you to be more discerning with what you are filling your time with each day. Instead of scrolling endlessly, or feeling like you have to look at everyone’s content to get to the few that you want to see, try picking a few (maybe 3-5), and following their emails if they have them. Follow them off of social media platforms and really dive into their content for a while. Then switch around as you learn, grow, and are led to others.
In this way, you have the ability to gain more from their content, and not feel so overwhelmed by all of the different information being thrown at you. You can take the time to take in what they put out there versus feeling like you have to read through it all before it gets lost somewhere in your feed or their stories.
If you’re a content creator, or have a business, and you’re trying to gauge whether or not you should change your relationship with social media…I encourage you to look at a few things:
How many times have you stopped your flow of work or creativity so you could post on social media at “the right time”? How much time do you spend each day on social media, and are there other things you could do with that time to move the needle forward faster for yourself? How many times have you seen people talking about how to make the algorithms happy? How often do you feel like you’re posting to appease the algorithms, rather than posting because you genuinely feel like you have something of value to offer your audience? How do you feel after spending time on any of those platforms?
I know we’re all doing what we do to ultimately help people, but sometimes that gets lost. These were questions that I had to get real with myself about. They helped me to see how it was taking time away from doing things that could serve in a better way, and taking energy away from me in general.
Personally, I’ve seen more and more creators getting more and more discouraged with social media because they feel like they can’t keep up with the constantly changing demands of the platforms. I’ve seen more and more people in general saying that they feel like these platforms are hurting their mental health, rather than helping it, even if they only follow people who only post positive, helpful things.
It seems like, those people that are fans of your work don’t see it if you’re not jumping through the hoops, because you drop in the lineup of “relevant posts”. Relevance is being defined more by which people are posting the right things at the right times, or paying to be seen, rather than what people actually want to see.
I know, to some extent, anyone who has a business online has to play the game – SEO, algorithms, and all of that. But eventually, we all have to choose which games are draining our energy and which ones are allowing us to really reach out and help people.
I apologize if this offends anyone, because that’s not my intention with this post.
I’m not attempting to judge or call anyone out. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for their habits, or anything of the sort. My goal is not to convince you to do what I’m doing. I simply want to share where I am on my personal journey, to let you know where I’ve been and where I’ll be, and to encourage those that might be feeling like I did.
Feel free to disagree with me…that’s what makes the world go round. If we all agreed on everything, the world would be a boring place.
Whatever your position is on this subject, I encourage you to do what is best for you, and allow others to do the same.
The way I view it is this – If the goal is to create a life that we don’t need to escape from, then we need to stop leaning on the forms of escape that are keeping us from being present. Social media has its place in this world, but we have to be careful not to let it take over and make us feel worse in the process.