I recently made the decision to go cold turkey from social media -- a very scary thought as I have a conscious need to stay present and up to date with certain things. If there's anyone that knows me, they know I'm either working, or tweeting, or tweeting about working (people need to know I'm busy “right”?). In fact, I've been able to secure partnerships, make amazing connections and promote my brand through social. I felt responsible to stay connected, all the while not realizing how it was affecting my brain and my life.
I randomly checked my battery percentage while going through the settings on my phone and I noticed something alarming. Twitter accounted for 34% of my overall usage (even more than my mail, which I live on, and my text messages! Eeek).
I knew I needed to do something about it. The tool I used for fun started to take over my life.
I deleted the app from my phone over the holidays and decided to see what would happen. What I learned was quite surprising:
My following didn't change, it actually grew:
As a millennial, I, like most of my peers, believe that you have to be active or no one is checking for you. With over 3,000 followers tweeting became more of a duty for me than a pleasure. I had the notion that if I went MIA my following would decrease, surely people don't want to waste a follow on someone that isn't sharing content. But to my surprise, my following didn't change at all -- it actually grew by a few people. Anyone that is a true supporter of you and your brand won’t lose interest if you take a break from social, and if they do maybe they weren’t that fond of you anyway.
I was much happier:
I'm a big fan of the law of attraction and having the right mental space. I think that thoughts become actions and your success is completely dependent on what you believe. An unfortunate side of social media is that it has a huge affect on your mental attitude -- and often in a negative way. You're constantly being fed images, articles, lists, posts and videos, among other things that make you feel inferior. The comparison effect starts to take place -- while you grow to focus on the moves of your peers, you lose sight of your own focus and vision. Despite my accomplishments, I started to attribute my success to the amount of features and likes I received online. After taking some time off, I was able to remember that happiness comes from within, regardless of the shout outs and favorites on social. I was able to stay in the moment and appreciate it for what it was, rather than rushing to update my followers on my whereabouts.
My business didn't suffer at all:
My biggest concern about unplugging was losing traction on the growth of my brand and business. As a coach and entrepreneur, I often use social to find leads, stay up to speed on trends, promote my brand and establish new relationships. Even after deleting Twitter, I was able to do all of those things. I actually still had very important meetings over the holidays and even helped one of my clients negotiate a sick offer for a new position. If anything, I was able to nourish some of the relationships I already had, which is extremely important for long-term success. Social media can be very useful for business, but it isn’t the only way to get it done!
I wanted to write this post to let other people know that it’s o.k. to put down your phone. Life will go on and you’ll find that not much changes while you’re away. Don’t be afraid to unplug, it may be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.