Michael has been talking about quitting social media for years. Every few months the conversation would come up, and he would probe as to why I’m not prepared to quit it.
It’s very common in the minimalist community to quit social media. Many pride themselves on quitting social media or having a detox because they don’t want to be chained to their addiction, or comparing themselves to others, or passively consuming content without any real purpose.
Living with intention and eliminating things that stop you from doing so is what minimalism means to us. Social media can be a strong culprit for wasting time and procrastinating. I do admit that I have had many moments of just scrolling through the feed and aimlessly looking at things, however, I’m not afraid to say that I don’t plan to quit social media.
Yes, there are many reasons to quit social media and free yourself from the world’s biggest procrastinating tool. However, what if you used it in the right way and got value out of it instead?
I’ve always hidden behind the fact that we had businesses that benefit from being on these platforms and that it would be crazy to quit social media just for the sake of it.
Michael and I sat down the other day, and the conversation was opened up again since one of my reasons has now disappeared. After closing Fairlings a month ago, he saw the opportunity to revisit the why behind my hesitation and the need to stay on social media.
I mean, we do still have TMV on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, so in my view, we still had a good reason to stay on them. To me, it’s all about connecting, or so I thought.
You see, when I’m on social media for work purposes, I am in and out. I check if any comments come through that need responding to, and I only post when I have something to say. Even then, I don’t do it consistently. So I can’t hide behind that reason anymore.
I’ve recently been thinking about posting on Instagram more and sharing about my personal journey and the little hurdles I come across trying to embrace the zero-waste lifestyle completely. That was one of the reasons why Fairlings never felt like I was myself. Some of the products that we stocked were in plastic, and with that comes packaging which is posted to us and isn’t environmentally friendly.
So now, I feel like I can go on this journey wholeheartedly. But more on that in another post…
Back to social media. Michael started asking me all these questions, and I felt like I had to be 100% honest with him and with myself about why I’m not prepared to quit social media.
Think about it. What was it like before social media came about? How did people connect? Face-to-face, over the phone, email, mail, text message, instant messaging (oh the days of MSN messenger, anyone else remembers that?!), chat rooms, groups and forums. I remember when I first joined Facebook back in 2007. It was very different from what it is now.
There’s so much more going on with the addition of Messenger, Groups, Pages and Marketplace. They’re slowly taking over all major platforms. Don’t forget that Facebook also owns Instagram and they have just released IGTV which will be YouTube’s direct competitor.
All that said, I have brought it down to the following reasons why I don’t want to quit social media.
With so many events shared on Facebook, I honestly don’t know how I would hear about them otherwise. I do get some in emails, but it’s so quick and easy to invite friends and family that might be interested in an event if you can quickly invite them through a Facebook event.
Some events are solely advertised on Facebook through pages that I follow. Businesses use this as a way to promote their events and don’t bother advertising it in any other way.
When Michael and I travelled to North America last year, we used Facebook Events to organise meetups in all of the cities we visited. It would have been much harder to organise without this tool.
I’m part of a few different groups on Facebook that I find quite useful, whether it’s a vegan group locally or nationally, vegan dogs group or zero-waste, they all serve a purpose when I have a question or feel like I can contribute to someone else’s conversation.
I’ve learned a lot just by being on them and seeing interesting conversations pop-up.
You must be a little confused why I would put Marketplace? Well as much as we are minimalists, we also like to buy and sell things sometimes without having to go to the shops. I find that buying second-hand when possible for what you’re looking for is a great way to help create less waste.
Once I find what I’m looking for, I stop browsing, as you can easily find a million other things you like but don’t necessarily need.
Did you know that you can use Facebook Messenger without having a Facebook profile account? I had no clue! Michael told me this the other day, and I was a little confused at first. So when I said that another reason I didn’t want to leave social media is that my family talks and shares things through Facebook Messenger, he said that I didn’t need an account. Mind. Blown.
Keep up to date
I must admit that I do like to know what others are doing but without having to talk to them. I’m a little bit introverted that way. I enjoy seeing what’s going on in other people’s lives without being in touch with them. Sounds a bit stalkerish I know. Who’s having a baby, who’s getting married, what kind of content they share etc. I don’t see it all in my feed, but thanks to the Facebook algorithm, I see things that most interest me (or so I think they do).
I’m not overly active Facebook user myself, but it’s nice to keep up to date without having to pick up the phone or send an email. You could say that this is what’s disconnecting us all, that we don’t have to communicate with each other anymore, but it has its pros and cons.
The fear of missing out can sometimes take quite a strong grip on me if I’m to be completely honest. Yes, I know that it’s important to separate myself from it, but I’m only human after all.
I do like to see what’s going on and what’s new and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t spend too much time on it but feel like I could reduce that time by half if I put in some effort.
With the new app that Apple has released where you can track how much time you really spend on each app and how many times you pick up your phone, it will give people an opportunity to be more aware of how long they are actually spending on their phones. I’m going to give it a go! I’m sure even just having that in the back of my head and making the conscious choice to use it, will make me reduce my time.
I’m a sucker for pretty things. I like looking at beautiful images on Instagram and seeing what other talented photographers (mainly food and travel) are doing.
I also love Pinterest for visual inspiration. When I’m in a bit of a recipe idea slump and need some guidance, I use Pinterest. When I want to try making something new, I search for it on Pinterest. When we have a creative/design project happening, I turn to Pinterest for inspiration. You can never look at enough pretty pictures! I find it refreshing and uplifting. It always puts me in a good mood. I guess being a photographer, it makes sense that visual content appeals to me.
Having a presence on social media gives us more reach. It lets our blog content, our events and our book more exposure. It also provides us with the opportunity to connect with you all. To hear your comments and get your view on something that we’re sharing.
Without social media, a lot of that wouldn’t be possible. Or at least it would force us to send you more emails. Which let’s be honest, no one needs more emails in their inbox!
Let’s be honest. If you went onto a website and clicked on the social media icons and it presented you either with 50 followers or 50,000 followers, which would give them more credibility?
In publishing, if you don’t have a decent social media following, you are less likely to strike a book deal. Mind you; this does also depend on how many people visit your website, and your professional history (e.g. if you’ve published books in the past and they have sold well).
To me, it seems that there is no denying that social media does still play an influential role in a business reaching more people. It also gives a more personalised insight into your business that you wouldn’t necessarily see on a website.
So for both personal and professional reasons, I think that social media is here to stay and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Some may say that it has disconnected us in many ways. I am of the opinion that if used sparingly and in the right way, it can help you to connect with others that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
What about you? Are you on social media for any of the reasons I mentioned above? Do you keep fighting that inner voice that keeps saying that for some reason you shouldn’t be on there, but yet you still are? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.