“The more social media we have, the more we think we are connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.”~ JR (a French artist)
When I launched my business, I was told I needed to be active on all of the social media platforms: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube…you name it and I probably have an account. After all, how else will people know I exist?
Day in, day out there I was on my phone, mindlessly “engaging” with other users and posting photos of my meals, coffees, and inspirational quotes. My social media use increased as growing my following became a challenging game. I would analyze the likes and the follows, and decipher if the comments were robots or genuine people.
As I started to follow more travel and fashion bloggers for #InstaInspiration, I found myself suddenly becoming extremely envious of the lifestyles they led. After all, here I was trying to create a picture-perfect feed, yet everything I did seemed so inferior. I found myself wanting to know who their phantom photographer was and how they managed to post three new outfits each day.
My life and my account seemed boring and unattractive in comparison.
I found myself in a constant state of comparison mindset wondering when and how I could have the same type of luxurious lifestyles. I wanted to know what they did on these boats, first-class air seats, exclusive parties, and with all of these different designer handbags. In a nutshell, I became insecure and materialistic—two things I never felt pre-social media.
The Purge of Social Media.
Noticing I was severely caught up in a vicious cycle, I felt a variety of mixed emotions ranging from being sad, jealous, and even drained. I would find myself complaining about how superficial social media is and how fake everything seemed.
I would learn of all the misleading tactics such as buying followers, comments, or likes, comment pods, and the controversial follow-unfollow technique.
Sensing my frustration, my friends would often ask, “Emily, if you hate social media so much, why don’t you just quit it?”
My answer was, “Because I know social media is vital to a business and blogger’s success.”
I still understand the need to engage with others and to post relevant information to stay current with my audience but after some deep analysis and soul-searching—and in order to stay sane—I finally put in these following solutions:
1. I selected a handful of platforms I could handle that were most relevant to my audience. Because I am a career coach, I remained active on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. That meant my Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube pretty much fizzled out. But you know what? That’s okay because I also happened to have a much smaller following on these platforms anyway.
2. I started using a social media scheduler. By scheduling the posts in advance and automatically, I have cleared up a lot of time and don’t have to remember small details.
3. I shift my mindset and expectations into one of steady and slow growth. Once realizing social media is only one component of my business, I no longer felt the unnecessary pressure to reach 100,000 followers like the fashion bloggers who rely on their following to get sponsorships. Knowing I could still grow in an authentic way allowed me to enjoy social media more. I now only like, comment, and post what I genuinely enjoy.
4. I hired a virtual assistant to get my main posts out there. While I find topics, articles, and useful tips I want to share with my audience, sometimes scheduling is just too much of a lengthy process. I actually found someone who loves writing status updates and putting together images. Her passion for social media really shines through in the quality of the posts.
Replacing Social Media with more Headspace.
Shifting my mindset, spending less time on social media, and narrowing down to the platforms that mattered felt strange at first. I found myself always reaching for my phone, opening apps, and realizing I had nothing to do. In the first week of my social media reboot, I felt myself just staring at my phone throughout the day. I felt like I had to do something, yet didn’t; therefore, I began to feel unproductive.
In the second week, I had a major realization. I realized I only felt unproductive because I had so much more headspace.
Now that I didn’t have to think about finding something Instagram-worthy or think of a clever hashtag so I could post a picture…I could actually find true peace. I was free and liberated to regain random minutes and focus on bigger things for my business. I was also able to spend more quality time with the people who mattered the most to me—offline.
The adjustment was awkward at first but now I find living without daily social media the norm.
I never feel FOMO because I’m living in the present moment. Being fully present is the best gift we can give to ourselves and others around us. Living our lives through our own lenses is what’s most important.
It’s up to us to come up with our status updates of the day.
I like to think of our status updates as an authentic action or thought we can broadcast offline. Not something anyone can just type or take a planned photo of…but something really non-filtered and real.
Author: Emily Liou
Image: jens johnsson / Unsplash
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Leah Sugerman
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman