As a budding minimalist, I’ve gotten comfortable questioning new purchases, reflecting on what things I keep around me and decluttering. To date, my minimizing has been focused on “stuff” and less on actions. But recently I realized the time and effort I put into social media was actually resulting in very little positive return and a whole lot of angst. So, I decided to put myself on a 30-day social media cleanse.
What Does the 30-Day Social Media Cleanse Entail for Me?
I began the cleanse by assessing which platforms brought the highest return to the blog and to me, personally. I’m in a screenwriting group that has discussions on a private Facebook page, so I knew that Facebook, in some form, would have to stay. But I unpublished my author/travel writing page. It’s not deleted. But it’s not making me feel guilty if I don’t use it. And I’m not being frustrated by having xx number of people who have liked my page but don’t ever get exposed to the content thanks to Facebook’s algorithms. If I want to advertise my work, I can use my personal page, which holds friends, colleagues and family — in other words, the people most likely to act when I’m promoting something anyway.
Also on pause is Instagram. It’s in a state of suspended animation. Again, it hasn’t been deleted, but it’s not active either. Instagram brings no return on investment on the professional side. And because of the way it is set up, it actually causes frustration. Instagram only allows you to follow 7,500 people. They say it is to reduce spam. Of course, having the limit actually encourages hit and run followers – all playing the infamous follow/unfollow game.
There are some brands and influencer agencies that require people to have a minimum of 25,000 followers in order to work for them. Of course, that pushes people into the follow/unfollow behavior to get their numbers up, and if that doesn’t work, people have a huge incentive to buy followers. And for the vast majority of people (celebrities and a handful of influencers aside), the higher numbers don’t result in a real return on investment because general accounts don’t have live links and zero people go to the link in your profile unless you are giving something away. The old adage of “you just need good content and people will find you” has long been buried by the millions of people putting content out there.
I like the pretty pictures, but I can get those off of Pinterest without the drama. I have a feeling if I ever re-active Instagram, I will delete any account that I don’t have a personal relationship with and make it private.
Ah, Twitter. This was the harder of the decisions to make because I had about 12,000 followers. I started the account because I kept hearing that I needed a platform when my web series was getting started, and it was reinforced when I was getting ready to publish the book. Everyone kept telling me that I wouldn’t get any agent or funding for anything without having this all-powerful platform. Alas, for me, I’ve had a meager return on investment when it comes to time spent on Twitter.
On the writing side, it feels as though everyone is just trying to advertise their pieces, blogs, books, short films, features, etc. And that includes me. When I’m busy, the only thing I would do is post up from the blog. Engagement took time I didn’t have. I was told that I could interact with producers who would be exposed to my work in an informal setting. Except, by and large, they aren’t because they don’t tend to follow strangers, so that don’t ever see my work.
On the personal side, it either serves as an echo chamber or a place of anger and frustration. I never feel better after scrolling through Twitter. Will I delete it altogether? Hard to say. I need to make that decision within 30 days, or the account will disappear. I’m hoping that over the next 30 days, I can really get the feeling for whether or not I need this “platform” for my work.
Do I have fears of missing out? Yes, I’ve had those moments with Twitter. It became a habit to check it when I was killing time. But I don’t really want to kill time. I want to be mindful of the time I have. I want to spend that time creatively or with family/friends. I don’t want to lose time during the day to a scroll that only makes me angry or despairing. I still get the news. I just get it once or twice a day. I don’t need it continuously. Or at least, that’s what I think right now.
How do you deal with social media? Do you limit yourself to one platform or do you hire a virtual assistant to handle your business needs? Have you done a social media cleanse? If so, I’d love to hear about it!