Whether you spend a few minutes on social media each day, immerse yourself for hours, or have dabbled with digital detoxes before, the idea of quitting it might seem completely crazy.
I hear ya. And yet I’m doing it!
I recently had a coaching call with a business client, where we worked through her mindset around social media. Imposter syndrome, ‘comparison-itis’ and the constant rush to produce more and more content had her feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and on track to burn out.
After our call, I reflected:
I wonder what life is like without social media?
Could I quit Facebook and Instagram?
Would I lose business? Opportunities? Relationships?
Can you even run a successful business if you’re not on the socials?
I parked the idea, but it kept swimming in my mind.
So I did my usual nerd thang and went hunting for case studies – stories of people who’ve quit social media for good. How did it change their lives? Did their businesses survive – and even thrive – after ditching it? Or is it an absolutely HORRENDOUS idea?
Like everything, I found arguments on both sides.
Some say it’s liberating, freeing you up for deep work, unleashed creativity, and deeper connections with real people in the real world.
Others say it leaves you feeling out of the loop. Disconnected. And don’t you dare try it if you want to succeed in business – or even land a job!
Armed with these insights, I whipped up a list of my life with and without social media. Here’s a short snippet:
How social media makes my life better
- Connecting with people all over the world, and sharing my ideas, writing, podcasts, and coaching work – and learning new things in return.
- Keeping in touch with friends, family and people I met on my many travels over the years.
- Keeping on top of social and cultural trends, so I’m not the one at the party who asks “What the heck is ‘woke?!’”
- It’s easy to share my ideas with the world. Just type a few words and send it out there!
How quitting social media could make my life better
- Find new (i.e. old) ways to connect with people: my email newsletter, podcast and blog, networking events, referrals, hosting my own workshops and events, chatting to the local barista, joining groups and clubs…
- Have deeper, more meaningful catch-ups with friends and connections, genuinely interested in their news because I didn’t see it first on Facebook.
- Ditch crappy click-bait for longer-form articles on world events and trends (heck, maybe I’ll even have time to pore over magazines like the New Yorker!)
- Have more time to develop deep work, write more meaningful content, publish more podcast posts.
- More time to read.
- More time and stillness to meditate, journal, reflect, and engage in “meta thinking”.
- More time to finally work on passion projects (I’m sensing a theme here…)
It’s pretty clear the benefits swing both ways. I could simply strip back my social media use: cap my time online, or focus on just one platform. I’ve done that, and it does help.
[I also want to caveat that social media can be a beautiful thing. It can change the world.]
But right now, I’m curious to explore life without social media.
To see if I can enjoy an experience without the urge to tell everyone about it.
To dive into my writing and coaching, giving it and my clients all my focus and energy.
To keep my eyes on my own work – and not compare it to others.
For me, social media has become a distraction (no surprise, since it’s literally designed to do that – to fragment our attention. Just watch Cal Newport’s Ted Talk). It’s become a convenient (dare I say it, lazy) way to connect with people and market my business. And it’s becoming a big time sucker, keeping me from the work that really makes an impact.
My business is staying true to my soul purpose and bigger mission. Producing my best work. Making deep, lasting connections. And helping my clients to make friends with their mind.
It’s not scrolling. It’s not scrutinising. It’s not comparing. All of that is out of alignment with my vision.
This may not be forever. But it’s right for now.
I love this from writer Alexandra Franzen:
If social media is “optional,” why are so many people “afraid” to stop using it? I believe that, deep down, it’s all driven by a “fear of missing out.” #FOMO. Fear of missing out on a funny, witty video clip. Fear of missing out on a potential business connection or client relationship. Fear of missing out on a big sale at your favorite store or big news from a friend. I feel it, too. I feel afraid of missing out on all of those things, too. But do you know what I am afraid of missing, more? I am afraid of missing out on my life.
I’m so with her on that.
If you’d like to chat about balancing social media in your life, feel free to message me and we can pop a time in the diary.