I've deleted my Instagram app. I've signed out of Facebook + Pinterest. I haven't had a Twitter or Snapchat since high school, so that's a non-issue. I was on TikTok for exactly one hour.
While I'm not moving to a cabin in the woods and bringing my imaginary chickens along (yet), this year will see me removing myself from the good and the bad of social media and now, because you're kindly reading this, I'm going to tell you why.
Some time ago, about September, I found myself -- not for the first time this year -- sobbing in my car on the highway. Woo. Let's call this the spark. Said spark ignited a fire that burned through me to examine every aspect of my life. Not everything survived the fire. And that was the point of this fire.
I wrote many lists. I read a few books. I talked to a lot of people I respect and cherish. I came to some strong and stunning conclusions. And I created a really cool structure for making and maintaining my frenemy, The Honorable Bound A. Ries, Judge Extraordinaire. I'll talk about that Really Cool Filter more later.
The gist of it is that I've had a love-hate relationship with the socials for a long time now. Having slowly given up on personal accounts, the business end always kept me from severing completely. Social media has undoubtedly been an important part of why I'm still here as Cayligraphy 5 years later and I am thankful for the way that Instagram has helped me share about my artwork and connected me to customers and people all around the world (hi!). But more and more, it has been a slog. The benefits no longer outweigh the struggle. I'm at the cliff of decision.
I have taken less drastic measures over the last few years -- limited my time, smartened up my post schedule, holidayed periodically. They all helped a little, but at the end of the fire, I knew the only thing that was keeping me in this situation that I deeply resented was my fear of losing my business. And it's one I still kind of have, candidly.
We're told that in order to have a successful business, we have to post 2-6 times a day, every day, at optimal times; respond to every comment on your post and comment on at least 25 other posts; make a few of those posts Instagram reels, add some TikToks; Snapchat what your day-to-day looks like; share your posts and harass all your friends to share every one of your posts, too; pay for advertising boosts; collect followers like XP to get access to new features; join posting pods; take influencer marketing classes and artist advertising workshops and buy these schedulers and templates (or DON'T because then you're not authentic enough); maintain the complex vibe of your grid; and choose whether you love it or hate it, but definitely share why you're on the side you are while complaining about the other side.
I say NO to that. It's not for me this year.
In some ways, the constant yelling at me to not only stay in the social media world, but dig in deeper, has made my resolve all the more stronger. Someone told me that this was a "potentially damaging career move" and gosh, I want to prove them so wrong. I want to come out of this year having had the best year of my business.
But even if I don't, and my business is a little worse for wear after 365 days off the grid (I really don't think it will be), I think I'll have a lot of good come out of this departure. What's a year in the grand scheme of things?
The Experiment Part
Instead of pouring time, energy, and resources into something that makes me feel bad, I'm going to do something(s) else :
- regularly email my subscribers with good stuff
- write occasional blogs
- participate in lots of shows (face to face hellos!)
- draft two courses for publication
- write the first draft of my children's book!
It's not necessarily a 1:1 ratio, but it's my hope that freeing myself from everything attached to being on social media (creative approach, trends, regular posting, dedicated variation, engagement, guilt, scrolling, comparison, etc.) will allow me to pour those skills and energies into ideas relegated to the "one day" post-it wall in my office.
It's going to be an interesting year!
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