One year back on social media (& I quit again): what did I learn?

Good morning,

As I was deactivating my Instagram account, I thought it was time for a little chat about social media. A year ago, I was telling you that I was launching a new professional Instagram account on the platform. However, this was all part of my own social media detox, even though this may sound “weird” if not explained properly. About 4 years ago now, I completely deleted my first Instagram account for 3 complete years. Last summer, after a big life shift, I decided to go back on Instagram and see:

  • whether the platform was still as addictive as it used to be
  • whether I had missed something in my social life by not being on social media anymore
  • whether I preferred life with or without it
  • whether Instagram was essential to growing my new business.

Today, I can proudly go through all of these questions (and answers) while giving a little more insights than I did in my post about 5 benefits of quitting social media. As you can tell, I focus only on Instagram, as I do need LinkedIn and Facebook to administer professional pages at work. However, I never considered either LinkedIn or Facebook to be “social media” in my life, as I do not use them for anything else than strictly work (and non-business) related things. Moreover, I just do not use any of the other platforms at all and do not consider blogging or YouTube as “social media” in the same way. Ready?

Answering my sociological questions

Social media gets less addictive the second time, but…

It is true that social media gets less addictive the second time, probably because you are fully aware that you have the power, not the platform. However, it is still extremely time-consuming, even for those of you who do not scroll mindlessly. In the beginning, I thought not scrolling would help me not trade my time on Instagram. However, when you do not pay for something, you are usually the product, and I have been again! You can lose time on Instagram, aside from mindless scrolling, for two reasons:

  1. The platform is created to be addictive. Do you realize how many times you are checking your messages every hour? It is crazy, and you could just as well use your phone messages. Don’t we pay for phone subscriptions we actually rarely use anyway?
  2. Creating content takes time. If you are, like me, an entrepreneur, you know how time-consuming content creation can be. Moreover, with this Reel trend, Instagram is doing its best to “mute” our photos and, to me, creating videos is much more time-consuming than taking and editing photos.

Social life is better without social media

Social media tricks you into thinking you see people more than you do. You know I am all for technology (I study Virtual Reality, so obviously), however I am also for true honesty. The thing is that by seeing pictures and updates of your friends all over the internet, you can end up thinking you see them more than you actually do. Even worse: when you actually get to talk to them 1:1 (physically or even virtually), you feel like you already know what they are saying because you saw a few pictures, and this you do not listen carefully.

Internet =/ social media: you do not miss anything

I can’t tell you that quitting the internet entirely is the best idea not to miss anything (at least if, like me, you do not read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV), you absolutely need some type of media to stay up to date. However, do you really need to know everything about everyone? I do not think so. Choosing a news app or, even better, crossing information across several news apps can be a great way to get informed on the news while staying away from social media.

Where are the clients on Instagram?

Last but not least, creating an Instagram account again has not helped me grow my business at all. I have found no client whatsoever, even though I have tried everything possible (well, basically: stories, posts, reels and giveaways). The truth is that Instagram is not necessarily the media for you or your community. My clients do not use social media or so little, and when they want to hire a coach or consultant, they do not look for it on social media anyway.

The truth is that on Instagram (and social media in general), people have free access to you (see below) and thus, you sometimes lose even more time answering questions that will never lead to quotes or collaborations.

Extra things I have learnt in the process

The phone does not have to follow you everywhere

It is one of the most realizations I have had this year around that topic. The first time, I quit social media, I feel like I was more on my phone but this time, quitting it again made me fully realize that, above not using social media, not using your phone might be a good idea. My phone is necessary in my work life, but once I am home, is it really going to benefit my social life? Maybe not, as I am already either seeing friends or enjoying my own presence, mindfully.

Social media does not equal a flattering online presence

This goes hand in hand with the “clientele” part: you do not need social media professionally. I would say that, depending on your field, LinkedIn may be a good idea, but aside from this very specific one, a website or portfolio is, I think, more important. Of course, community managers will need to show their skills, but even there, I know some who do not even have personal/business accounts and simply work with their clients’ platforms!

Why do you give free access to your vibe, to everyone in the world?

I hinted at it before: why do you give people free access to you? This is true in business, as people ask you constant questions about things they do not really want to invest in, but it is also so true from a personal perspective. I love having public accounts, and restricting people is just boring in my opinion. However, giving so much of my energy, vibe and ideas for free seems counterproductive for me. I prefer investing that time with my beloved clients.

A website or YouTube channel is so different as people who find you there are usually not just “random” people but the ones who are really looking for your very specific type of content. Thus, sharing your vibe here seem logical as you are actually doing it with your “online tribe” only, even though it is public. Moreover, keeping a little mystery around your life and activity makes you 100% more attractive and interesting as a person, I feel.

The more you work with tech people, the more anti-social media you become

Last but not least, now that I work on VR and basically see engineers all day long, I get more and more wary about social media in general. When I look at it, I realize that people creating platforms or knowing them really well do not use them: why? Because they are fully aware of the downsides hidden from the majority of us. Thus, I choose to stay away from these platforms too, as I am sure that these professionals do better than I do in this realm.

I hope this post has been educative for you, as my only goal here is to give you another view of social media. I am in no way saying you should delete all of it as depending on your job and lifestyle, some platforms can indeed do more good than harm. However, the most important is, I think, to know that you have a choice and that you can control social media altogether.

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