Goodbye Social Media

Saying goodbye before boarding the plane for my first sky diving adventure last summer

I have been getting some questions about why I am saying “goodbye” to social media. Curious, confused and some concerned questions. Some of from within myself and some from others.

“Won’t it be better for your business to be on social media?”

“There is such a wider reach for your message on social media, won’t this hinder your coaching?”

“How will I make connections?”

“Won’t I miss out on a lot of things?”

Sometimes I concede to the questions in my head and go for a “last round” on Instagram or Facebook. But the result is always the same, it just doesn’t feel right to me. It doesn’t feel like where I’m supposed to be. I don’t feel good after even just a quick tour of the scene.

I want to say this up front. I am not hating on social media or calling it bad. There are so many things that I truly like about it. I have made connections, had the opportunity to put my work out for many to see and received so much encouragement from people on social media. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to say “goodbye”.

What I have realized after years of flipflopping is that social media is not my scene. It zaps my energy and I usually just don’t feel good after even a short social media session. I generally head to social media to seek connection or an escape from reality with the hopes that I will receive some kind of validation that will make me feel better.

I count views, like and comments. I wonder why people aren’t engaging with my content the way they are with others. My head can become consumed.

I usually spend too much time, compare myself to others fantasizing and feeling jealous of the amazing lives they lead becoming disgruntled with my own.

I fall into the strong “highlight reel” of social media. Those of others and myself. I often feel inauthentic because I’m posting a “snapshot” of my life that doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, it’s my real life, but not really.

But despite all of this, social media has been a home of sorts for me for many years. And even when it’s time to move on from somewhere, even when you know in your gut it’s the best decision for you, usually there is still some hesitation, some grief, some uncertainty and some fear. I know and believe it’s not my scene right now, but part of me still wants it to be.

It’s like when I stopped drinking over a decade ago. A bar and activities that centered on and/or included a lot of drinking were no longer my scene. I have liked it, mostly. But even now, 13 years later, there’s still a part of me that misses it. That still feels left out, uncool and so not fun. I want to belong, but I’m not willing to pay an unhealthy (for me) cost anymore.

A few years ago, I was off of social media for a year. It started off as self-protection and removing myself from drama and turned into a deep form of self-care. The extra time and energy created space in my life and my head and I felt clearer, more connected and aligned. It felt good. Once I started coaching in 2020, I got back on Facebook and resurrected my Instagram account because “that is what I was supposed to do”.

“How could I not be part of the Facebook groups my cohorts joined?”

“How would people know what I was doing?”

“How could I share my work and my art with the world?”

Social media was the only way I reasoned. So, apps were added to my phone and webpages favorited on my computer.

A while back, another coach whom I respect shared about taking a hiatus from Instagram and never went back. When I heard about this uncommon and “risky” move, I felt inspired and a longing started developing in me.

“But she is a lot more established that you are. She can do it, but you can’t afford to right now. Maybe later in your career, that will be feasible and realistic for you. Not now though.”

I’ve been teetering on the edge of going fully off social media for a while now, waffling back and forth. I’m scared to pull the plug.

“I need to be on social media to grow my business.”

“No one will know about what I do or read my work if I just post on my blog and communicate with my email posse.”

“Who even reads blogs anyways?”

“People don’t read long posts anymore. I’m too long winded and people don’t have time, attention or a desire for that.”

“I will be a nobody.”

“People and businesses only truly exist when they have a social media presence, attractive content and a following.”

“This is not a wise move.”

As you can clearly see, my uncertainty is obvious and I talk to myself a lot. 🙂 However, in my gut I know it’s the right move FOR ME. From my own personal and philosophical perspectives.

As I have learned more about social media and heard from other business owners who use its platforms for marketing, honestly, I’ve gotten a little creeped out. Meta, the company who runs Facebook, Instagram and a host of other platforms, essentially controls what I see and who sees my posts. Their methods of data collection “know” all about me. I feel like I have perpetual social media “eyes in the sky” watching my every digital move. Their ever-changing algorithms are sneaky and many people live and die by them. It’s a job in and of itself to keep up with all of this, especially as a business owner.

And to be honest, I don’t have time or energy for that. I need to simplify and make my life easier. Most days I have at least one time where I feel completely overwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle my everyday basics. Some days, it’s all day.

“Shannon, don’t say that. You’re a coach and people come to you for guidance. You have to put your best foot forward. You need to appear that you at least have it mostly together.”

The thing is that I’m a human being just like you. Yes, I’m skilled at my craft and have had the privilege of helping a lot of people over the years. But the ability to do that has come from my struggles, heartbreak and mistakes. I have certainly not done it in my own strength.

I wouldn’t have a story or be in any position to guide others had it not been for all the time I have been face down in the mud, sometimes for years at a time. This is not past tense either. It’s on-going. Every day I find myself face down in the mud to some degree. It’s because of these experiences, the strength that I receive to keep dragging myself back to my feet and the wisdom and encouragement of others that I have anything to give to others.

And isn’t it usually through our messes that we connect the most with others?

In her book “Between Two Kingdoms”, Suleika Jaouad says,

“Their openness has shown me what can happen when we quit all the bullshit posturing and admit to uncertainty.”

I have experienced amazing things when I have done this and I’m trusting it again.

With uncertainty and fear, I say “goodbye social media”. I don’t know if this is forever or for a period of time. I’m trusting what can happen when I stop posturing, admit uncertainty and follow my gut.

My work with reach and impact those that it’s supposed to. Right?

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