I’ve always had a kind of love/hate relationship with social media, but I would say it’s actually mostly been more on the love side–I love that we are able to connect with so many people from around the world and discover the work of different artists, makers, musicians, and creators! When the pandemic hit, I especially appreciated that it gave me a way to feel not so alone and allowed me to socialize and stay in touch with people.
But lately I have really felt a pull to take time off of social media–at the end of the day, I really think we should be using these platforms because we enjoy them and I don’t know if I feel that way anymore. I also remembered an article I had read by author Alexandra Franzen on why she doesn’t use any social media at all–here is a link to that article and she just hosted a free workshop about this topic too. A lot of it resonated with me, especially what she mentions at the end. I re-read it and decided that I wanted to do the same–and surprisingly felt no resistance inside of me when I had that thought (like I have had in the past when considering this).
I wanted to share some of my reasons why I am taking an indefinite hiatus from social media (primarily Atiliay’s Instagram–I am not really active on FB anymore, have never been a Twitter user. and am too old to have ever gotten TikTok haha) in case anyone has been feeling the same way or curious about this new path I am trying out.
BUT I HAVE TO BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MY BUSINESS!
But do I? I have said so many times before that if it wasn’t for my business I wouldn’t even be on social media. So why am I? Who says that I do?
I started off not even knowing what Instagram was when I was several years into Atiliay! I still remember my boyfriend at the time trying to explain to me what it was and I was just like, “I don’t really get it, what’s a hashtag?” Oh, how times have changed!
While I totally understand and respect that some businesses do get most of their clients this way, Instagram has always been a platform for community for me rather than for selling my products. Pre-pandemic when I was still teaching workshops, I did get some students that way, but most of it was actually from Google searches! When I remembered all this, it made letting go a lot easier.
I also did think about how Instagram–and any platform that is not your own–is borrowed and you really have no control over it. What happens if IG crashes one day? What happens if all of our followers got erased? I remember it not working for a few hours and that was stressful as it is! Those were also some of the things I considered.
TAKING A SLOWER APPROACH
Sunday mornings used to be for cleaning up my email inbox and checking my favorite blogs–I loved this ritual and I loved seeing what my favorite people on the internet were up to, seeing new recipes, learning new things, and discovering other ways of life. It was my version of having a nice cup of coffee and reading the Sunday paper.
Fast forward to the present, where everyday I quickly scroll through dozens of little squares, give them quick hearts, and sometimes stop to read the caption. I really want to slow down and give my undivided attention to that one article or post like I used to. And on the flip side, I would love to give someone a chance to get to know me and my work in this slower form as well.
I know most of us who create our own content can spend hours making just one single post–from thinking of what to post and when to post to styling and editing the photo to creating the caption–and it just feels so unsatisfying and sad that all that time is used for someone to look at it for literally 2 seconds! I really want to change that!
NOISE + NEGATIVITY
This is probably the main reason I’ve been wanting to get off Instagram–it used to be really fun and inspiring for me and now I feel social media in general is very judgmental, repetitive, negative, and can create more unnecessary pressure, comparison, and stress.
Not only do I feel this need to create a lot of content, but I also feel like there is an expectation to react to things quickly before having a chance to process it–I think part of that is just the nature of social media and how instant and fast it can be. But relating back to the idea of slowing down, I personally need time to digest things to really process them–and with everything that is going on in the world and in the US right now, I feel like this is something important that we should be allowing ourselves time and space to do.
With social media, a lot of the times it just feels like react, react, react– whether it’s reacting and creating a post about a topic or reacting to someone else’s post or comment. Then if you don’t react fast enough you may get called out. And if you do react with the best intentions but it is viewed as imperfect by some, you may also get called out. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t–but the kicker is that usually the people calling you out are just random strangers on the internet who don’t even know you! And at least for me, all of this–whether it’s happening to me directly or seeing it happen to others–starts to feel really heavy and something I want to remove myself from.
Instagram–for both the good and the bad–has been a HUGE time suck for me! Anyone else feel this way?! I want to take that time and instead of staring at my phone, use it to write more letters, create more projects, get more work done that is higher priority, cook, spend more time with my furbabies, practice my Mandarin on Duolingo, read a book–the list goes on and on! I have already been spending less time on social media and found myself consuming things that are more beneficial and getting to do some of the things I have listed above.
CREATE FROM WITHIN
I truly believe there is something really special about staying in your lane, not being influenced by what other people are doing, and just creating from within, from our own imaginations and hearts.
FINDING THAT BALANCE
I recently listened to this talk by Colin Wright on extremes and I really resonated with it and the idea of finding balance. Sometimes in order to find that balance, you need to experience both extremes and see where you fall. So that’s what I am experimenting with right now, how it feels and what it’s like to not be on social media vs using it a ton.
HOW LONG IS THIS HIATUS? WHAT’S NEXT?
All of these thoughts are just how I personally feel–I know social media is different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to use it, just whatever is best for you. There are still lots of things that I love about it and it’s just the way that I have used it and my own experiences that has led me here.
I don’t really have any concrete rules on how long I will try this for or what it entails. For now, I am simply going to stop posting and stay off Atiliay’s account until I feel like I want to share in this way again.
I feel a little differently about my personal account (maybe because I rarely post and it’s usually only about my pets or during Dressember lol) so I may post there from time to time or go on as a way to keep in touch with friends and see what some of my favorite accounts are up to. But it definitely doesn’t take as much time and I don’t have an obsession with checking in so often so I feel pretty comfortable doing that.
I also want to mention that just because I am not posting on Instagram doesn’t mean I am stopping Atiliay or not keeping in touch anymore–instead I am focusing on updating my site more, blogging more, and focusing on my newsletter! So you can still keep in touch in those ways and I would really love that! :)
I will keep you posted and let you know if anything changes and how this all goes and where I end up. It’s already been a few weeks since I have changed how I use social media and so far, I really like it!
PS: This post turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would be–thank you for sticking around and reading all of this if you’ve made it this far! I appreciate you letting me share my thoughts with you!