Instagram now has a feature that notifies you once you’ve spent a certain amount of time on the app.
The first time I did this, I was shocked — shocked — by how quickly 30 minutes passed by.
Meditating for 30 minutes sometimes feels like torture. Scrolling my feed for half an hour? Like 3 seconds went by.
As someone who works online, it makes me kinda nauseous to think about how much of my life I’ve spent staring at a screen. I don’t know exactly how much time I spend online each day, but it’s… a lot.
How much time do you spend daily on social media? Do you even know?
And more importantly, how do you feel after putting your phone down, post-scroll?
For me, for far too long, the answer has been, “kinda deflated, not good enough and like I should be further along / doing more with my life.”
I wanted to quit social media but mistakenly thought that because I had an online business, I had to stay on.
Recently, I’ve been re-thinking this seemingly undeniable truth.
Instagram’s algorithm changes really drove this home.
After spending literally YEARS of my life on the app HOURS each day to grow my following to around 17,000, my average post now reaches around 1,500 people.
One of my more recent posts reached around 900. Ouch.
At first, I won’t lie, I turned this low engagement into a deeply painful story that my work didn’t matter. Nobody cared.
But then I realized this was an opportunity to seek validation from within. To recognize that the universe was pushing me to go beyond my comfort zone and reach new people in a different way, a way that aligns with my soul and opens me up to an even deeper expression of who I really am.
Mulling that over, I continued to set boundaries with social and continue to post. This didn’t really work too well. Yes I reduced the overall time I spent online, but feeling like I needed to post and be present consumed emotional energy.
Of course social media experts would tell me that my posts are the problem. They must be boring or not resonating with people, otherwise the algorithm would reward them with increased exposure.
That may be true, but the deeper truth is that I am unwilling to change my message so people like it. The things I write about come from my soul, and I trust that there is a receptive audience for my exact message.
I refuse to change who I am to fit into the world. I trust that I am enough exactly as I am, and that a better, more soul aligned way exists.
As I released the lie that I am not enough, I wondered — if this isn’t bringing me joy and it’s not building my business, why am I doing it?
That’s when I made the radical decision to quit social media, delete the apps off my phone, not for a weekend, and maybe not for good, but for a very, very long time.
Here’s why I did it, and how I think social media is damaging us in very profound ways. As a side note, I’m not anti-social media. It’s a powerful too, but I also think it’s very easy for the bad to outweigh the good.
Many people are wandering around more connected to their phones than their souls, and that’s a problem.
1. Social media is literally designed to be addictive.
The feeds are designed to capture your attention, to drug you with dopamine when people like your posts, and to keep your eyeballs on the feeds as long as possible.
Their ad revenue depends on attention. They reel us in, capture our data, and then sell it to the highest bidder, who then writes ad copy designed to play on our insecurities and sell us shit.
Even if you control who you follow, you don’t control the ads you see.
Just to be clear, I run a business. have nothing against selling or making money, but a lot of the ways people are selling are really disempowering, leading you to believe there’s one magic secret that will solve all your problems, or “inspiring” you with an aspirational lifestyle that you can have too.
The problem is, this creates an unhealthy dynamic where you buy from someone because you think they’re better than you.
2. Social media distracts us from our true purpose.
We each have a very unique path to follow, one that’s honestly really easy to find when you’re connected to your soul.
The problem isn’t that we don’t know what we want or how to achieve our goals. The problem is that we’re disconnected from our internal guidance system and looking to other people for answers when we need to be looking within.
I did this as I fell too heavy into the question of how to market myself as a coach / thought leader.
As I strategized how to change my posts to increase engagement, I lost connection to the deeper message and ideas I’m here to give the world.
Even a few days without social media, and I’m already feeling more connected, certain and excited about creating things that truly light me up.
In order to find our unique gifts and message and way of interacting with the world, we need to connect to our souls, not our phones.
We need to go within, rather than focus on what everyone else is doing. That takes us off our true path.
That’s one of the biggest reasons I quit social media.
3. Social media makes me feel like shit about myself.
At some point inspiration while scrolling turns into envy, and it’s difficult to acknowledge the precise moment that happens.
Whether I envied someone’s lifestyle or business or even Instagram feed, there was no denying that upon putting my phone down, I felt worse about my life.
I cannot believe how deeply I allowed the number of likes received to affect my self-worth, but it did, and is another big reason I quit social media.
This has been a wonderful lesson in learning to trust my inner guidance and find my validation from within.
Sure I could put my phone down or minimize my time scrolling, but ultimately — why am I going to work so hard to keep something in my life that provides so little benefit?
I think this internal back and forth only speaks to how addicted I am, and how much social media has ingrained itself into the fabric of our lives, often taking more than it gives.
4. Social media consumes the time I could be spending doing meaningful things.
Beyond the actual time spent scrolling, there’s the time cost involved with switching tasks, which is called context switching.
When you’re deep in concentration, whether reading or writing or creating, and exit that moment of flow to check Facebook, you’re not only spending time checking your feed, but also spending time adjusting from one activity to another.
Depending on what you see during your little social media break, this could negatively impact the quality and depth of whatever actually meaningful task you were taking a break from.
Social media is shrinking our attention spans, making it difficult to read, concentrate on the important things that really matter, and making us less present in our lives overall.
I could have easily written a book in the amount of time I’ve spent on social media. It honestly sickens me. Now that I quit social media, I’m excited to see what I create.
5. Social media prevents me from tapping into my deepest work and creating a legacy.
I was not born to circulate memes that get engagement on Instagram. Neither were you.
Let’s be real — I believe there is a real and understated concern that the great creators of our time are spending their time obsessing over social media, creating for algorithms, indulging in superficial connections with too many people that ultimately limit the depth of their true work.
How many modern greats aren’t accessing the true depths of their gifts because they’re busy with social media?
How many people with powerful messages aren’t giving those messages to the world because their feed gets poor engagement, making them think their message isn’t good enough?
Artists and writers used to toil away for months in solitude before giving their gifts to the world.
Now we have engagement offering us a constant measuring stick of what people think of our work.
Some people say that’s good, it helps creatives know what resonates with their audience.
I’m not so sure.
Sometimes the world needs a message people aren’t ready to hear.
Sometimes a person needs to sit with their work for some more time to let it develop.
Sometimes meaning is a more powerful measurement than response.
Think of all the greats throughout history who weren’t fully appreciated until after they died.
The response from the masses isn’t always a useful measuring stick when thinking about the value of an idea.
Even if the world doesn’t respond to your gift, what would you rather do — spend your life being someone you’re not, or do what you feel called to do, even if your path required you to walk alone?
Memes will never hang in the Louvre next to Mona Lisa. One reason I quit social media was to dive more fully into seeing what I’m really made of.
Social media has many gifts, too, and offers many opportunities. I’m still grateful for all its gifts.
For me, right now, the bad outweighs the good.
I’m out. I quit social media.
I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.
As a note, I will still be taking excellent care of the groups I run, like The Society of Spiritual Starlets. I’m just being more strategic about my time and have deleted the apps off my phone.
Share in the comments below: Would you ever quit social media? What is your relationship with it? And be sure to watch the video, which talks about this from a slightly different angle.
All the love,