I’ve Been Detoxing From Social Media And Here’s How It’s Affecting My Life
Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Yes, for those of you who may have noticed the black hole that has been my Instagram or my final post on Facebook, or possibly watched my video on breaking up with big tech, I have been detoxing from social media for the past three months, and here’s how it‘s been going.
As a small business owner, podcaster and content creator who essentially uses social media as her livelihood, platform and entire marketing strategy, detoxing from social media was not — and still is not — an easy thing to do.
In November 2020, when there was a mass exodus of The Big Three (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter), I was right there with the wave of people who left. I consider myself moderate, but privacy, transparency, factual information within the media and equal and fair treatment of all people are all hugely important to me, and I saw untrustworthy actions by each of these platforms which made me think twice about social media playing such a huge role in my livelihood, business plan and social experience.
As a small business owner and content creator who essentially uses social media as her livelihood, platform and entire marketing strategy, detoxing from social media was and still is not an easy thing to do.
So, I deleted extra profiles, platforms or pages I did not consistently use, I created profiles to try several different alternative platforms, and decided to wait and see what happened. I enjoyed Thanksgiving and the winter holidays with my family and friends and spent January researching and educating myself on video and content editing, podcasting and blogging, setting out my quarterly goals and time off for the year, and in a creative frame of mind to deliver quality content in various formats.
How Detoxing From Social Media Is Affecting Me Financially
As of February 1, my conclusion is that, while I no longer need social media socially or emotionally, it has put the majority of my connection to my readers, clients and content consumers, my client networking opportunities, and yes, my earning power, on hold. Finding alternatives to business growth in the time of both COVID and while detoxing from social media has not been easy...but necessity is the mother of innovation. (This is where refinancing our mortgage and having good credit and savings has come in handy.)
My bottom line has not been fantastic, but I’ve also not been spending money on the social media promoted posts and ads I normally would. The result is that I have a much smaller community and client base, but it’s less diluted and more focused and targeted.
One of my favorite marketing gurus and small business championers, Ashley Chymiy of Hello Happen and The Brand Cure, has a great podcast episode on making your business word-of-mouth-friendly, and I’m thankful I started taking her wise advice a few months ago. I’m actually excited about being more plugged-in locally. I’m not where I want to be with my networking or my client load right now, but I’m on my way, and it feels good.
I’ve used several alternatives to The Big Three for promoting my business:
My Email list: I started an email list, (which you can sign up for at the bottom of this page).
Text and calling: This is my preferred way to stay in touch with current and past clients. I also love voice memos.
My Podcast: While I’ve taken time out to decide on new content and refine my technique and technology, this is still, at least for now, a semi-viable platform.
My own blog and website: it’s been really helpful to have these platforms and I’m greatful to Wix and GoDaddy for continuing to host me.
Nextdoor: An alternative for promoting business or networking locally
In-person meetups: local networking groups have started back up and there are several I’m learning about through friends who have their own businesses.
How Detoxing From Social Media Is Affecting Me Socially
The first week I did feel kind of isolated. I would sneak back on and download photos of my friends like a creepy stalker as I made my transition away. But after a week, I didn’t miss it, and I felt like I was free from distraction and drama.
After a few days, I realized my serotonin and dopamine rushes came less from a distant person or stranger liking my content to genuine happiness and pleasure from snuggling my dogs, kissing my husband, working out, laughing on the phone, singing, learning and making things.
Overall, I know who my friends are and who I care about. I’ve been thinking of and in better touch with distant friends and family now more than I have been in years, because I’m not mistaking liking a photo of their kid or their gym selfie or commenting a heart emoji for actual human interaction and connection.
I also experience dates, outings and gatherings without taking tons of photos. When I do, they are just for me, or for the people in them. There is less pressure to document, which leads to a fuller and more enjoyable experience where I am truly present with those I’m with.
Before detoxing completely from social media, I did explore these alternative sites:
Nextdoor: Instead of Facebook for local groups, events and info
Text and calling: Good old phone calls and text threads have allowed me to stay closely connected to my friends and family. No need to see what my old classmates from high school had for lunch or what their kids are up to.
Parler: Until it was removed by Amazon, I was enjoying this format. (It’s coming back soon.)
Gab: I’m not a fan, but it has groups, events and other features of Facebook. Like Parler, you can ban and filter undesirable content from your feed easily, which I prefer rather than a platform filtering it for me.
Telegram: I’m not a fan, but I did use it. The format is like a messaging app.
MeWe: I tried this and disliked it, but some like and use it.
ChatDit: I tried this, too but it was very quiet and went nowhere fast.
How Detoxing From Social Media Is Affecting Me Personally and Creatively
I really don’t think I’ve had this much free time since high school, to be honest. There is just so much pressure on us to be (or at least to appear to be) busy, available and connected that many of us have forgotten how to own our own lives, our own timelines, and focus on our own day-to-day existence.
Besides having more time to connect with and enjoy what I have worked hard to build, create and acquire, here’s what else I’ve noticed.
I look up recipes in actual cookbooks and magazines I‘ve saved.
I started reading books more.
I started my family on a healthy diet and we’ve lost weight (more on that later).
I am loving the ideas I come up with in my own voice, my own head and from my own experience, without comparing them how others have done things in a different way.
I’m enjoying and have a heightened awareness for more manual and three-dimensional formats like drawing, painting, home design and textiles.
I’m more focused, present and intentional with every task and project.
I’m more aware of nature, the weather, birds etc. Odd, but true! My attention feels way less divided.
My husband and I are paying more attention to our long-range goals, and feeling more creative about ways to make them happen.
So Will I Stay Off Of Social Media Forever?
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of reasons to love social media.
One of my strongest memories when deciding to detox from social media was when Influencers (people with over 100k subscribers) would say, as we talked about leaving social, “Well yeah but I’M AN INFLUENCER!” ... as if their decision to leave social was an issue that no one else was struggling with on their level — that, somehow, having more followers and product sponsors made the decision to leave or not so much harder for Influencers than it has been for “regular people”.
The truth is, it’s tough for EVERYONE. We’ve all
invested in social over the past decade or so. And most of us, to some extent, depend on social media for either our livelihood, networking, paycheck or sense of community — especially if we are business owners or if we picked up side-hustles during quarantine. It’s like having a credit card or having your medical records in the cloud or using Google or deciding to take the COVID vaccine. Which battles are worth fighting? Which choices are right for you, your family, and for this season for your life? That’s not something anyone can decide for you, or for me, but it’s what we all face at times.
One of the things I love about living with other people is connecting with others! I don’t want any of us to live in an echo chamber and I’m not out to rebel in anger. My only point is that that there should, in our country, be a choice regarding social media platforms, there should be a place for free speech — not for inciting crimes, but for conversation, debate and expression.
We should be allowed to decide these things for ourselves, and we should have platforms which are transparent and consistent in how they follow laws, which accurately define and answer to what they are as companies (publishers or platforms?), and platforms which treat all members with equal respect and consideration.
So, if and when I do use social media, or if I return to using any of The Big Three for business, I‘ve decided I will be doing so on my terms, and I will be doing so very carefully and intentionally, hitting Big Three where it hurts most: through eyeballs and ad dollars.
I will not be spending on sponsored posts or buying ads anymore on The Big Three.
I will not keep any Big Three apps on my devices or allow camera/mic permissions.
I will not be returning to Twitter, as it was my least-used platform.
I will not use Big Three apps to consume content or interact with others, unless it pertains directly to queries or networking for my business.
I will not interact with any ads or sponsored posts (this is something I actually used to do, and discovered several products and accounts this way that I liked.)
I will no longer host business pages or events on Facebook.
I will follow a schedule and only download and log in to Pinterest IG and FB to post my content, do a cursory messages check and interact with clients.
I will continue to use, seek out, and financially support alternate platforms for Big Three, until as such time as I can make the complete transition off of Facebook and Instagram (goal for this is by 6/2021, depending on what is available). This encourages competition and a fair market.
That’s where I am with social media right now. As always, I‘d love to hear from you and welcome your feedback! Also, if you have things in your life that you’re feeling “stuck” with, I’m here to help — and I’m cheering you on!