Portrait by Olivia Jones Photography
This Fall will be three years I have been off of social media excluding the good ol’ dinosaur Facebook business page.
I was talking to a friend last week at the park (you know – actually engaged with another person/not device at a common area) and telling her the things I have seen happen since I left instagram, twitter, tiktok etc. She was saying how much work it is to keep up with it – especially as a mom and artist. (You can check out her Etsy shop here! She is as incredible as she is talented!) And it is hard work. But is it the work we should be doing? The majority would argue with a resounding YES. The most successful entrepreneurs say it is a must. But for me, after the past three years, I am not convinced.
Let me explain…
Right before I decided to leave the world of “social” media – I asked people if they thought a business could function apart from having a social media presence. The answer was “no” across the board. But it was one event that made me realize I didn’t care if it cost me my business – I was leaving it behind. I didn’t know for how long and still don’t if I am being transparent but I can tell you that if I ever get back online it will be with very strict practices in place.
My little family of three at the time was on vacation. I remember looking over at my daughter and saw her doing something I’m sure was adorable, grabbed my camera to take a photo then stopped. What made me stop? Her outfit. It wasn’t cute. It definitely didn’t have ANY aesthetic, you feel me? I didn’t take the picture. I know that sounds dramatic but the way my thought pattern was in that moment made my stomach turn for a while after. (Still does.) I knew that countless moments of browsing had subconsciously made me begin to judge what was worthy of being remembered and what wasn’t. What was beautiful, normal – all the things – and what isn’t. In this moment, though, I realized how this continuous interaction was rewiring the way I saw people, things, situations, norms, trends and even social issues.
So, before I tell you the things that I have seen transpire personally from not being online in that way, let me say this. I worked hard for many years to build up my website SEO. I spent hours upon hours studying how search engine optimization works, what it needs and how to put what I learned into action on my website. My number one source of business referral is from google. Second being people recommending me to their friends and family by word of mouth. I then spent time building up an email list. At the time this was only by suggestion of a few successful gurus. It is now my lifeline and favorite outlet in my business – even over this blog. I also decided to keep my Facebook business page. The demographic on Facebook is statistically much older and most likely not my targeted audience. I do not care, though. I love to interact with those people because most of them I interact with in a face to face manner regularly.
Let’s get to the good stuff :
My brain is LIGHTER. My husband can even attest to this. I am not stressed the way I was before when I was spinning the hamster wheel to keep up with the instagram Joneses. And believe me. You are trying to keep up whether you realize you are or not. (I am telling you – your subconscious is scary.) Whether it be keeping up fitness wise, money wise, housing wise, family wise – you are trying to keep up with something.
My business took off when I quit social media. The past three years have been my best in business yet by far. I raised my prices and offerings significantly. The things I wanted to achieve for myself and my families came into full view. When I wasn’t constantly being bombarded my work changed, too. This terrified me and at times still does. My aesthetic changed. My cliental changed some. My eye changed in how I saw things and how I shot. Not by a ton – but in a noticeable way to me. I once photographed with lighter hues and locations – but once I was in my own headspace darker hues started to bubble to the surface – more browns and greens as opposed to pastels – and more outdoorsy than proper. I realized the colors that I am truly drawn to – sand dunes topped with green or our brown boardwalks – parallel to those of my childhood – wooded areas in South Georgia.
Not only did I bring in more money – but I saved money! You will be shocked with how much more content you become with the things you have when you aren’t seeing the new and shiny.
I enjoy people more. I miss friends when I haven’t seen them. I love having conversations in person. I love doing things together and not feeling any need to document it. The depth of my relationships has deepened due to this.
I am back down to earth. To prove it, we have lived in a rental house for the past year with baby blue living room walls. Gasp. I haven’t changed it. Why? Because it isn’t life or death. Does it drive me crazy? Yes. Did I swear the day we moved in it would be changed immediately? Yes. But the reality is – we have chosen to keep it because this isn’t our long-term goal. (Oh – and long-term goals – yeah, those are clearer now too.)
I truly believe life is beautiful and people are wonderful. I don’t want anything in my day to day life that quietly causes me to view those things and situations any differently. Social media does that – or it did it to me. I also want my family to have a present Kaylie – not one constantly striving on their phone, answering “comments” online – being so overstimulated when a “comment” arises in real life – I snap. They deserve better and you deserve to feel better, too.