Recently, a writer and author I admire in the healing space announced that they might be stepping away from social media.
Their audience panicked.
One after another, comments on their live feed shared the sadness, confusion and reluctant support for this person. It was clear that this leader had developed a real connection with their audience and this intended departure could feel like a separation or abandonment for many if another opportunity for connection isn’t created.
At least once a day I come across a post on Instagram announcing a departure from the platform. Authors, artists, coaches, and people with businesses so large, I’d imagine that leaving social media wouldn’t have much influence on their bottom line but could harm their cultural relevance. All threatening to leave, going dark for a few days, weeks, maybe even a month and then VOILA, they’re back and announcing the great revelations they received during their time away, the pivot in their business and the new thing they’re launching.
This invigorated clarity and direction would imply that space from social media might create more awareness of purpose and connection to their messaging.
But what if we considered social media with a new lens? One that didn’t leave us feeling victimized by an algorithm and more in control of the boundaries we set for ourselves and others on the interwebs just as we do in real skin-facing life.
What might it look like to create healthy digital boundaries that allow us to flow with the times we are in without sacrificing too much of ourselves?
Of course if you’re set on leaving social media because it just doesn’t align or you really don’t want to be there, then absolutely do what you want.
But if you want to stay, and don’t know how to do so in a way that feels honoring of who you are and how you want to feel while interacting in these spaces, then here are some ideas to consider.
- Remember the wonder and child-like curiosity of connecting.
Have you ever noticed how your friends from back in the day interact on social media? You know, the ones that don’t have side hustles or full grown businesses like EVERYONE seems to have?
You may have forgotten that not everyone on social media is there to promote, sell or educate, but they aren’t. Because you run a business, it may feel like you are one of many fish in the same pond.
But what if you remembered to be curious and inspired by the space? What makes you laugh? What inspires you or fills you with joy?
Follow and interact with those accounts and creators.
Unfollow people in your industry and find the digital spaces and conversations that compliment, contradict your own views, or call you to ask yourself questions about what you believe, what you like and who you are.
Let the magic of social media come alive for you.
Chances are you’ve been around long enough to remember a world before social media.
So how can this invention…this new age communication channel feel really interesting to your creative younger self? Let it be fun. Let it be simple.
2. Make your own rules.
If you are willing to disappear from a social platform because you don’t want to play the algorithm game anymore, then why not stay for the reasons you like it and play your own game?
Think about it.
How often have you felt the need to stop yourself from sharing or posting the things you really want because it doesn’t feel “on brand” or cohesive with the squares you’ve curated? But whose rules were those to begin with and how can you reclaim your time, space and those little squares or your feed so it feels good to you and not just to others?
Start with your values. Who you are online can (and I’ll argue “should”) be the same person you are at home. When it comes to consuming information on social media, think about it like any other media channel.
For example, I only watch television in the morning or at night. Otherwise I don’t even think about it at all. And when I do turn on the TV, there are only a few channels that I even want to watch. This is available to us with social media as well. Then when it comes to sharing, consider your intention.
Do you want to start a conversation? Make new friends? Celebrate a moment in your life or business?
Be clear on that and determine when you want to share and how long you want to interact according to what is shared.
If you’re wanting to connect or make friends, maybe you go LIVE and have real time conversations with other people about topics that matter to you. And when the conversation ends, you move on to an activity offline.
Basically, you get to decide how and how often you want to engage. Which brings us to…
3. Understand who you are and what you want offline.
The thing with social media is that it speaks to our cultural codependency. When we don’t know who we are and what we truly believe without outside influence, all the voices on social media can feel loud and overwhelming.
Have you ever heard the saying, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything?” I believe that to be true when it comes to the relationship we develop online.
Imagine, for a moment, your experience in grade school. It was probably so easy to pinpoint the various archetypes of the kids in any classroom. The leader. The outcast. The genius. The teacher’s pet. The bully. And so on. And then there were those kids who were…the followers. Perhaps, that’s the issue with social media–the languaging.
Maybe this gets us stuck with behaving like “followers” or believing that everyone is a “friend.” So what if you allow yourself to label connections internally in a way that aligns with who you know yourself to be offline?
Instead of saying “I follow….” maybe you begin saying “I interact with” or “I’m connected to…” for starters?
Words have power and are spells of a sort, so when we change the words we use in relation to the ways we interact online it can impact our feelings about those interactions as well as ourselves drastically.
4. Call a thing a thing.
You might know by now that I love referring to the things my elders have said to me over the years and this is one that my grandma has said many times. “Call a thing a thing.” In other words, tell the truth about what something is without pretending that it’s something else.
Social media is a tool. It is a free tool (for the time being). It is NOT an embodiment of who you are as a person. So as a business owner (if you are one) allow social media to be the bridge for connecting with other humans. And then take those connections elsewhere.
Get them on your list if you run a business. If you like individual people you’ve met online, get their personal information and write to them or call them or connect in real skin-time.
Just as we don’t allow ourselves to be available to everyone all the time in real life, don’t allow social media to have your attention in a chokehold so that you feel drained.
In doing so we personify this tool into perpetuating the real life toxic relationships we may be drawn to otherwise. So turn off notifications and place your icons into folders on your phone’s home screen that you only interact with at specific times of the day or night.
Your life still belongs to you and if you find yourself being “sucked in” as we might tend to say, be honest about what you’re allowing a particular platform to be pulling you from in your real life that you should be facing.
For example, I find myself being “sucked in” when I’m feeling blocked creatively or feeling insecure about an idea or longing I have. Because I’ve called myself out on this, I quickly redirect my attention to an activity that will support me in a more productive way.
For the creative blocks, I get outside, play with my kid or pull out my paints and make something without direction. When I’m feeling insecure I may turn to affirmations, meditate on the promises of the god of my understanding, or connect with a friend that lifts my spirits.
To grow beyond the unproductive vortexes of social media, we have to be willing to see ourselves with honest eyes.
However, if you find that you are just wanting to be entertained, to laugh, to be nosey and see what’s going on in the digital world then allow that scrolling time to be intentional. Gift yourself an hour to scroll. And when that hour is up, you move on. Let the thing be the thing. Let you be you.
And let’s all be honest about where we stand, the power we have and what we really want from life, other people and the tools we choose to outsource our power to. And speaking of outsourcing…
5. Hire a social media stunt double (aka a social media manager)
Honestly, this is my least favorite option for anyone with a personal brand unless there is some balance between having someone else keep to a schedule and you still maintaining an energetic engagement to the space. Only because energy can still be felt online and if you aren’t there, people will feel it.
It kind of makes me think of what it would feel like to only show up in my partnership when my man got home and instead hired someone else to do all the other interacting for me. It wouldn’t take long for my partner to notice that he wasn’t engaging with the woman he agreed to be in a relationship with over the phone or text throughout the day.
So if hiring someone to manage your social media will make it possible for you to show up online, then be clear about the role you are going to play and the energy you want your audience, friends and clients to receive. Perhaps you schedule time every day to respond to comments under posts or in your dm’s. Or maybe you go live once a week so that people can interact with you in real time. Don’t ever forget the value of your presence and the impact of being visible.
There is so much that can be said when it comes to our relationship with social media, what it means for our society and whether or not it should exist at all. However, what’s most important is that no matter what decision you make for where you spend your time and energy it is important to make the decision that is best for you.
Know that making a decision from an empowered place has more impact than one made from fear, exhaustion or overwhelm. Your presence has impact and matters everywhere you choose to share it.
How do you feel about your relationship with social media? In what ways do you choose to interact with it these days or how might you change the way you engage? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.
P.S. Kate here! My friend, Amber Dugger who helped increase our company’s profitability by 400X is leading a free LIVE training this week and it’s a must attend if you want to get a handle on your money and step into significantly greater profitability like she helped us do.
You’re invited to:
5 Key Strategies to Permanent Profitability – Free Masterclass for Coaches & Service Providers
TaKisha August, Origin Community Manager/Head Empress
TaKisha is the holder of all spaces for The Origin Company. On calls, in the community, and sometimes 1-on-1 in the inbox helping members of our community feel seen, heard, and more confident about how to use the tools inside of the Origin membership.