About a 18 months ago, I decided to pull back from social media. I found myself focusing a lot on what I was posting and I decided to take a break from that part of my online engagement.

It started with a month off. But then, I never went back.

I hadn’t really realized in a conscious way how much energy it was taking for me to engage in social media. Since I had embedded social media posts into my regular schedule, I had normalized the effort. 

(In the past, I’ve had regularly scheduled social media posts on multiple platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. At some points, I even planned my social media up to three months in advance to make sure I was posting consistently.)

Taking a break, however, helped me to see how being social online can take just as much energy for me as being social in person. As an introvert, many forms of being social can tend to drain me of energy.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve noticed from pulling back from social media:

  • I spend less time on social media platforms. I get asked a lot how I find some much time for my reading. Well, I don’t watch a lot of television and I don’t spend a lot of time on social media. That gives me a lot of time back.
  • I spend my time differently on social media platforms. Since I’m posting a lot less, I’m managing the responses to my posts a lot less. I don’t need to worry about how many people are “liking” posts, and I have a lot less direct messages to engage with.
  • It’s easier to curate what I want to follow. The engagement I have on social media is very intentional now. I follow my friends and connect with my coaching clients, keep an eye on people that are reading interesting things, and engage with the process posts of a range of different artists and creatives. 
  • I don’t get sucked into the emotion of social media. When big news items blow up on social media, I haven’t found that it’s a healthy way for me to engage or process an event. It’s a lot easier to not get sucked in to the black holes of doom scrolling now that I spend less time on social media platforms.
  • I don’t play the comparison game of social media. Wow it’s easy to fall into comparing yourself to everyone else you are seeing online. Now, I don’t really look at other people’s posts with an eye to how I might emulate them. Rather, I just enjoy the creativity or innovation of what they are sharing.

Even though I’m loving all these benefits, I am still engaging with social media in certain ways. Here are some of the more intentional choices that I’m making that are working well for me:

  • I curate what I want to see. On YouTube, I follow accounts that bring me joy. On Instagram, I engage with posts that inspire me. I ignore Twitter unless I’m tagged. I pop onto LinkedIn to find interesting news and articles about relevant topics to my work.
  • I create content that reinforces my goals and values. Other than my blog and podcast, I’m really only posting content on my YouTube channel. Posting on topics that I care about, especially things that positively support how I want to spend my time and energy, is a win-win.
  • I connect with people differently. If I want to intentionally connect with someone, I often do that outside of social media. Brief connections via “likes” on social media tend to give me a false sense of who I’m connecting with and the depth of those connections.

What does your current relationship with social media look like?