- in Into The World , Life Purpose , Mindset
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Why I quit social media – even as an entrepreneur
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.
Check out this video by Cal Newport on how social media distracts us from deep work.
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,
This is important! I detoxed recently from social media and I love how you shared your experience. I am more aware of where my time is going. Thank you for your article!
Yay! Go you. My relationship with social is forever changed. It has a lot of downside for creatives! All humans, but especially creatives. We need to talk about this more!
Thank you for this well written blog post. I’ve been feeling many of the same things, and after experimenting with some approaches (like screen time limits), I finally realized that all along I just wanted to quit. So I did, right before the holidays. With zero hesitation too! I felt like I was freeing myself. I still utilize YouTube, and I love Pinterest, but Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are history. Looking forward to turning the volume up on my inner voice, and I suspect the removal of these digital distractions will help.
Thank you for writing this post! I do online marketing for a very specific niche and create online courses. One of my mentors insists that all small businesses need to be on Instagram. I feel like even though I do all this for a living, I’m spreading myself way to thin with not only SM, but SEO and email marketing (both of which I think are important and I’m not giving up)
IG just feels like I’m wasting more time posting memes that people maybe glance at then forget about. No more wasting time on Canva and Buffer.. at least for now. I’ll be interested to see where it all goes!
I also want to add that I’m able to create MUCH better content this way.. better than some of the superficial stuff I’m seeing.
Hell yes, sister! I think it’s bullshit when anyone gives absolute, black and white rules. We all have to do what feels right and what works for us! It’s different for all people, regardless of what business you’re in! After all, there is no success if our day to day lives don’t make us happy.
Love this, thank you for sharing!!
I deleted social media last year over 6 months and came back October 2019.
Again, I just deleted all social media and I’m not sure how long I’ll be gone.
I run a blog, YouTube channels, Etsy shop, etc, but social media just isn’t serving me and I find it SO distracting and time consuming. During this pandemic I’ve found it even more difficult to focus and I have been spending WAY too much time scrolling or trying to think of a caption.
I would rather just create and live MY life, not watch others.
It’s a tough decision as a business owner, but I think we’ll be OK.
[…] can read more about it based on her video on her blog website. About her stopping but she took steps to look at herself and found she felt that social media was […]
I love love love this article. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I have been meaning to quit SM for similar reasons but the ‘experts’ say something totally different.You know what I mean. I would rather be creating one meaningful blog and newsletter each week for my small audience and not be distracted by mindless videos/ reels on IG and FB. I’m very careful with my time on SM , still I find it very distracting. Even if it’s two minutes of leisure watching, it breaks the flow, or just brings some negative energy. I just want to serve more and more people through my wellness content and I believe if I have the right intentions, they will find my blog and we will connect.
Wishing you all the success in your life ahead