My Social Media Experiment was to stop using Instagram and Facebook for business for 7 weeks.
What happened was not what I expected.
For the record, I think it's great to take break from things. All things. Change is necessary from all things to grow and evolve. If you unplug for anything you might feel better after a reset. This is not only for people that struggle with addiction, unless we all struggle with addiction, which is more likely true.
It is a sign of progress and awakening, not failure, to take a break. That elusive state of balance isn't something that is achieved for long if ever. If we are growing and evolving we are always teetering. Even on a balance beam, it takes some wobbling, to stay upright. There is nothing wrong with this. This is what it is to be human. This article will not wrap up in a tidy bow why social media is good or bad. For me, it is neither. It is both. I don't know enough about the introduction of the hot AI topic to comment. This is simply my experience which wasn't a pass/fail exam but instead an opportunity to stay curious. This curiosity approach has served me in my alcohol free journey and I am applying it here too.
Why did I do this?
Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
I love it because I have made both virtual and real life friends from it. It helps me market my business. I am an extrovert, I love to share and get feedback. I love to see and learn what others are up to. I love connecting with people all over the world. I love the inspiration I find. I love learning! I love introductions to writers, recipes, leaders, podcasts, and more. Being active on social media has made so many opportunities and introductions possible for me. It has helped me grow my business more than any other avenue.
I hate it because of my behavior around it, at times. it can become too much and too mindless. I find myself looking up something specific before a workout and thirty minutes later I realize I am watching somebody else work out instead of working out myself. I get sucked in pretty quickly and it doesn’t add value to my real life to watch others live theirs. It can feel like the same messaging over and over. Repetition and redundancy. People taking credit for ideas or words that are not theirs. I want to police it sometimes. I know that’s not my job, but it can bring up feelings of frustration and resentment. I can seek to find a self fulfilling prophecy about how not good enough I am. How many likes I receive (or not receive) can prove (or disprove) my worth for a second. There is a natural comparison game. Someone has more than me. Someone else has less. I don’t like this energy. I want to stay away from it. It is a huge distraction from other work that I have to do. I love to share and then I feel a vulnerability hangover and question if I’ve shared too much. As much as I love to share, I don’t want the whole world to have access to certain parts of me. It feels very one sided, desperate at times. This cycle is all too familiar. Addictive some might say.
The past few weeks, I have been in a very busy season with creating and launching new programs, updating my website, ushering my first born through her high school graduation, and celebrating a handful family milestones. This has all been jam packed into one short month. I was traveling almost every weekend and I decided to remove some things off my plate to stay sane during this insanely busy time. Social media was an easy one. The first to go.
What I hoped I would find was more space, creativity, and focus. Less itch to grab my phone or fill every blank space with a scroll. I wanted more intention and less distraction from building my new programs or spending time with my family. I wanted to make my own mental health the top priority. Burnout is not an option for me anymore and social media as a business owner can feel like a rat race. This felt like a bold move to pull myself out for an extended period of time. I felt immediate relief when I pulled the plug and announced my break intuitively without over thinking, a rarity for me. Normally I think the flip flop on/off of social media seems so arrogant. Like who really cares? But honestly as a coach and influencer, people do worry and it’s been best to just announce it upfront so there are less questions.
At first, I reached for my phone often and was quickly reminded to refocus on my task at hand. I was forced to get to the harder projects. The things I’ve been avoiding. In this way, the break was so helpful. I had no excuses but to do the work I was avoiding. Once I dived into the content I was creating I loved it. I feel into a new groove of doing deep work instead of a superficial scroll.
I put more energy into my real life and my personal social media too. It was fun to get feedback from loved ones. I didn’t realize how good that would feel, after I had been receiving feedback from mostly strangers on my business account. There was less, of course, because my personal social media has hundreds of followers and my business social media has thousands. It hit different and felt more meaningful when I had a real relationship with the people commenting..
I had more time. I read more. I walked more. I got up and did something instead of staying put on the couch in my scroll. I had less feelings of comparison or interest in other people and more focus on myself. I loved it. I loved the break for these reasons.
I learned. I learned about myself and my patterns and habits. I learned what I was using social media for, the things I liked, the things about it and the things I didn’t. I liked my discipline during the break. My self control. My intention. That even when it was uncomfortable I kept to my task. Much like early sobriety. I liked being an observer of myself during this time. So much more intentional.
I missed it though. I missed it a lot and it was hard. I want to share with you. Coming up with content or things to say come naturally for me. I had all these things to share and no place to put them. I want to catch up with my Ditched the Drinkers. I miss you. I miss connecting. I miss sharing. I didn’t expect it. So many people get off and stay off. I wondered if I would feel this way too after a period of time, but I don’t at all. I want to go back. I want to reconnect. I like being active on Instagram both as a Coach + Creator and as a witness to others.
I ended up going back a bit early, after 5 ½ weeks because I had been interviewed on a few podcasts and tagged to share. I didn’t feel it was fair to the podcast hosts to hold back. My story was timely and I wanted to help get the word out on Memorial Day. I wanted to help people going through a tough holiday weekend. My story could provide hope and inspiration.
It was hard for me to flex on my own rules. I debated for a while. I decided to use my intuition and it just felt right to start to share again so I went for it.
So now. I am back. With caution. I have more family time coming up where I will be off. So it’s the perfect little dip back in before being off again. I will be using social media with more intention. To be back on feels like a happy exhale, right now, just like getting off felt a few weeks ago.
I learned social media works best for me when it is not a priority and it is used with intention. Maybe it sounds like moderating drinking and putting rules around it, we’ll see. I do like the dopamine hits of feedback, who wouldn’t? I also liked spending less time scrolling and more time doing, even if it takes an extra push to get there. I want to keep a happy balance. I will feel off balance at times. I am human and we are always in a state of flux. I am happy to know exactly what to do to bring myself back to equilibrium. Checking in with me and out of social media will always be a good start.
I can be a little all or nothing and that’s how I get with social media too. A break was really good for me. I will work to keep some boundaries with my social media habits and also take more breaks to keep it in check.
During my break I was able to connect with people in other ways. I had to get more creative to drive traffic to my website. I liked the creative energy I found when I wasn’t watching what everyone else was doing.
Ultimately, I am happy to be back and now we have so much to catch up on! A sober hiking trip, a new logo, two new podcasts, so many books, two new program launches and more! Follow me! Like, comment, share!