Hey friends. So I recently decided to hop off Instagram and Facebook in light of their new guidelines that came out back in December. If you haven’t read them yet, I encourage that you do just so you are aware whether you decide to take a break or not. But I received numerous messages about my decision and wanted to give some insight as to why I’ve left social media for now.
Let me first begin by saying that my choice to take a hiatus is not for everyone. I understand that there are people who depend on social media for income, jobs, etc. So this is not a judgement on anyone choosing to continue to use Insta/FB as is. My decision is purely personal. As much as I’d like to think my business needed social media for marketing purposes, it honestly didn’t. I looked at my analytics and numbers before I made the decision to take a hiatus and found that I had booked only ONE single client directly from Instagram in the six years I’ve had my business. 99% of my clients come from referrals and google searches! Crazy right? The next argument I had to come to grips with was “Sarah, these apps have been doing this data collecting stuff for years…why now?” Yes, these things that are being done aren’t new. The overreach and breach of privacy has been happening for years. (It still doesn’t make it right) So why now? My reasons are threefold and hopefully give some insight into why I’ve left social media for the time being.
I have a family with small children and safeguarding our privacy and security is more important to me now than likes or engagement. I’m honestly a little embarrassed I didn’t leave when I first discovered this data and privacy breach was first happening years ago. I guess I just convinced myself that I was a data point that nobody would care about so what’s the big deal? So what if they recorded what was on my camera? Or read my messages? I have nothing to hide. But the more I thought about it, the more unsettled I felt and decided these were terms I could no longer accept. The cons outweighed the pros for me in regards to our privacy and as a parent my job is to protect my children and my family first. And with the growing hostility on social media, I felt that this was right for us.
This is probably the biggest reason as to why I’ve left social media. I was CONSTANTLY checking for notifications and messages after every post to make sure I was getting the correct amount of engagement. Every minute I spent perfecting a caption or scrolling was a minute I’m wasn’t engaging in the present with my family. On multiple occasions my eyes have been so glued to my phone that my kids have even said, “Mommy can you look at me?” when they ask a question (insert gut punch). No matter how hard I tried to manage my phone use..I fell back into addictive patterns that kept me glued to my phone instead of my kids faces. One of my greatest desires is to raise them to love to read books, to enjoy the outdoors, and be fiercely independent but in order to do so, I actually had to model those behaviors.
I want to look in the faces of other image-bearers and engage with them and I don’t do that well when my phone is always in my hand checking for updates. These social media apps boast in their ability to “connect us” but actually achieve the opposite. I think about it every time I grocery shop or am waiting in my chiropractor’s office when I see everyone’s eyes glued to their screens. So I decided to remove the things that hindered my connection with others. It’s been much easier than I thought and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results. There’s been more peace, less overwhelm, and I’ve been able to engage (in-person) better with the people around me.
Like I mentioned before, the reasons why I’ve left social media for now are just that– mine. They are not for everyone. Will I return to these platforms in the future? Perhaps. Right now I’m looking into using a separate device that is void of anything personal to potentially post from periodically. For now, I’m sincerely enjoying peace from not feeling the need to post all of the time, being able to model screen free behaviors and engage with my children well, and connecting with the real world and people in my community. It’s been a freeing decision and I’ve never felt better about it.
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