As we awaken, all corners of our lives seem to be brought increasingly into the light of awareness. Patterns and behaviours that were once unconscious and automatic are now observed from a distance. Everything is brought up for questioning.
Lately, that's precisely what had been happening for me with social media. Even as I was about to click publish on another post, the question kept arising, 'Why?' And the more that question arose, the more I found I didn't have an answer, or at least not one that satisfied me.
The more I observed myself, the weirder it started to feel, until eventually it seemed that the only way forward was out (or off), at least for a time, to understand what life and business could feel like without it.
So today I'm sharing more about why I've decided to take a two month break from social media, not to be confused with sharing about why you should take a two month break from social media, or any break at all, for that matter. Rather, through sharing my current perspective and thought processes I hope to offer up a space for you own reflection and independent thinking.
What I'm not going to miss: Sloppy Comms
Sloppy Comms is the way a friend of mine refers to sloppy communication. Get us both started on this subject and you may never get us to stop. Sloppy comms includes (at least) all of the following:
Sending someone a friend request and, two minutes after the person's accepted, sending them an invite to like your business page.
Sending someone you haven't been in touch with for quite some time and with whom you've never developed a real connection a message with a token, 'How are you?' before proceeding to ask if you'd like to come to their event/promote their event/donate to their cause.
Dumping links into people's messenger inboxes saying, 'I thought you'd like this'. Really, why? Why did you think I'd like this? In a world in which we're all bombarded with information, I wish we would all reflect more carefully about the what and how of putting things into other people's spaces.
Adding people to a group they've not asked to be added to. I know this almost always comes from a good-hearted place but again, I just don't think we've been educated to think about the impact of our actions in this way.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
After I'd made the decision to take a break, the fear of missing out showed up. Many wonderful experiences and connections in my life have come about because of social media. Because of that fact, it's easy to fear that without it, wonderful experiences and connections will basically come to an end.
Inquiring into this and asking, 'Is that true?', showed up the emptiness behind the thought and for me, being held in a fear that I'll miss something important is itself one of the very reasons it's a good idea to explore life without it for a while.
More importantly, I was surprised when this question revealed itself during my inquiry: What am I missing out on because I'm on social media?
This reframe really got me curious. Why is the dialogue always about the fear of what we'll miss if we leave social media rather than what we might miss if we don't?
Creating 'my' work in the world
Everything about social media is designed to keep you on the platform. Facebook and Instagram introduced those moving dots to let you know when someone is typing a reply to your message or responding to a comment. I don't know about you, but those dots keep me hooked and keep me on the platform longer, just hanging out for a reply. And that's just one tiny example of how the platforms deliberately employ methods to keep us from going anywhere else.
Why does that matter?
Well, on the one hand, it doesn't matter at all. On the other, when I step back and think, 'This is my life', it starts to seem a bit weird that I'm spending so much of it on social media. I actually don't think there's much wrong with that, in the grand scheme of things, but I guess it just seems to me like there might be more interesting, fun, beautiful ways to let life dance through me whilst it has this physical form of 'Leah' to express itself through. I don't know, that's part of what I hope to find out over this break.
Ultimately, one of my biggest drivers is this: To create my work.
Seth Godin points perfectly to what I mean here in this interview in which he says, 'They think they're doing their job, they're not doing their job, they're hiding from their work.'
Social media is a creative space for me and it's where I share all the things that flow through me that seem beautiful or valuable to share and right now, that feels like something I'll miss. And whilst I don't think posting those things is pointless (I know people find value in various forms through what I share there), I wonder whether it's the best use of my time both in terms of my own creative fulfilment and those I hope to serve.
For instance, it's far easier to distract myself with another social media post than sitting down to work on the book but at the end of the day, I'd rather there be a book in the world than several hundred social media posts. Whilst all things are temporary and transient, social media posts are especially so.
Hearing my own truth
On the subject of creating 'my' work in the world, it seems to me that social media can make it look like I'm thinking for myself when in actual fact, I'm just absorbing other people's truths. Again, not that being influenced by or taking on board other people's perspectives is bad (it isn't), but I'm looking forward to going deeper into my own direct experience and sharing what comes out from there.
Most of all, I'm just curious
One could debate endlessly on the pros and cons of social media; there are as many perspectives as there are people and there's no right or wrong. That's why most things boil down to the one same thing for me:
Let your heart lead the way.
And right now, my heart is saying, 'this way' and so I'm letting it take me where it wants to go, discovering whatever we discover in the process.
When I ask myself, 'What are my reasons for leaving social media?', another question arises in response:
What are my reasons for staying?
And that, it seems to me, is a very good question to ask.
Love and courage,