Last July, I made a stupid business decision – leave social media.
As all business owners know, as well as what is just common sense, social media is a free place to promote your product to millions and millions of potential new customers. Why would you leave all of that opportunity on the table?
My answer – because it's not worth it.
Social media is a place where talking about your goals, dreams, desires, products, etc. is an end in itself.
It siphons valuable time away from actually building products, solutions, and putting in the work necessary to build a company.
It was my least profitable marketing channel.
Although you do have access to a lot of potential customers for free, it’s not the only medium in which to market. And the time I spent on social media was less profitable than other marketing avenues.
It was against the purpose of Educo. The purpose of Educo is to help people implement the practices of science to create a better future for themselves.
Social media is directly opposed to achieving that goal.
Not having social media for over a year may have lead to less exposure, but it is against our principles. This has led to more buy-in on the vision of Educo from team members, experts, and students. Because We didn’t just talk about our purpose, we acted on it.
What I Lost
On a personal level, I lost many things being off social media.
I was no longer "in the know" about current events, life events of friends and distant family members, or the latest #Hashtag news.
On a professional level, we weren’t able to share timely and relevant articles associated with those events.
We weren’t able to share images associated with our vision, or get easy shares on any of our content.
The biggest thing I missed out on was timeliness. All of the important information eventually filtered down, but I always heard the news late and our content was less timely.
If you're someone who absolutely has to know things right away, or your company has a timely aspect to it, I don't believe that leaving social media will be beneficial.
You simply will not have the same ability to learn and communicate with your audience in as timely a manner.
What I Gained
One morning, several months into my leaving social media experiment, I looked over the sunrise and a feeling of peace came over me.
Before leaving social media, my Instagram strategy was to take a picture of the sunrise every morning.
This killed many birds were birds with one stone. It showed the world that I was up early enough to watch the sunrise, it gave me an excuse to come up with something wise and profound to say, and it was building a following.
However, eventually, I stopped appreciating the sunrise for itself. I only saw it as a way to achieve my own ends.
After quitting Instagram, I could watch the sunrise and just appreciate it.
Rather than feeling anxiety, I started to feel peace. I wasn't worried about what others thought about me or whatever post I need, I just sat there and enjoyed the moment.
When you're on social media, you see the world through a lens of what it will say about you. You curate the world to tell a story about yourself – whether true or false.
Not having to tell that story, and just simply being able to appreciate life for what it is, took a huge burden off of my mind.
I no longer needed to worry about what Instagram images would get me the most likes, what tweets would get me the most retweets, and what part of my story I needed to share with others.
I could just be grateful for the opportunity to live my life.
No matter who you are, with the time, energy, and mental health investment you put into social media, you are lucky to even get back to zero.
Yes, there are benefits to it. I have no doubt that more people would know about Educo, more people would sign up for one of our programs, and who knows, people may actually be interested in seeing more sunrises.
However, whatever benefit may come from those things, the cost simply is not worth it.
Likes come an go. Followers come and go. Even businesses come and go.
Your mind, however, will be with you until the day you die. And the Science on social media today could not be clearers – the more time you spend on social media the higher your likelihood of developing depression.
Choosing to leave social media isn't easy. But it is worth it.
Because your mind will be with you until the day you die. And it is a lot easier to find true friends, find true fans of your work, and find true meaning in life than it is to reverse the damage that anxiety and depression can do to you.