I’ve been wanting to write this post for what feels like ages, but to put it more accurately, it’s been about a year. And day in day out, my happiness has dwindled away as I’ve ignored the need to write this post. That changes today…
First things first: Social Media
Before you read anything else, you should get to know me a little better. I’m a very private person, an old soul, a total introvert, and the opposite of a social butterfly. I’m way beyond my age, as my mother likes to say. These attributes play in my favor in many ways, but in so many others, they don’t. Starting with my love/hate relationship with social media. Yes, let’s start there.
I didn’t start blogging years ago to be showy, gain followers, or to schedule tweets, pins, Instagram updates, and Facebook posts day in and day out because it was “part of my job.” In fact, when I first got an iPhone and started blogging years and years ago, I made it a point to not pick up my phone until lunch to view updates and read posts. I love solitude and time away from that. Time with myself, people I love, and away from screens, notification sounds, and constant messaging online.
I also started blogging because I loved it, not really understanding the responsibility that came with it or because I ever intended on being very good. In fact, I wasn’t very good years ago when I first started and don’t pretend to be some huge blogging all star now. I didn’t even have an Instagram account until last year and have always hated Twitter. There, I said it.
My Main Issues With Social Media:
While social media has been such a unique way to find inspiring people, it doesn’t contribute to me as a professional content creator, a person, or a woman after God’s own heart. It steals time, often joy, and feels like a huge game of “must do” and compare, and yada yada yada.
I also despise the swayed (and often very false) influence that social media has on bloggers and their business. I hate that bloggers are paid big money to promote products on Instagram that they otherwise would not, and I hate that blogs have become dead and less engaging because of social media. It makes me sad that more people spend time on social media than they do actually reading the work that bloggers spend hours, days, and months creating.
I also hate that teenagers can make more money on Instagram because of their huge number of followers and spend less time creating online content than professional content creators doing so, all because of paid influencer opportunities on Instagram.
I hate that in order for bloggers to be successful, they need to have “X” number of followers, update all of their feeds “X” number of times per day and that every single social media outlet changes the way that blogger’s content gets seen.
I hate that billions of tweets go on all day long, all to be forgotten tomorrow. And I hate that Facebook has become a way to argue, complain, whine, and compare our lives to one another’s.
Something about all this just seems mad to me, and I’m done.
I also don’t think we should have to whip out our phone and post, post, post. I want to just “be” and enjoy life as it is instead of always updating the world of everything on social media. There’s so much noise out there and I find it quite exhausting, to say the least.
[ctt template=”8″ link=”xSddU” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]I want to just “be” and enjoy life as it is instead of always updating the world of everything on social media. @Heather_McClees[/ctt]
So I’ve made 3 big social media decisions….
1. Channels and Posting: I’ll only be regularly active on Pinterest from here on out since, to be honest, it’s the only one I still love and enjoy. Pinterest feels natural to me and isn’t something I feel I have to work at; I just do it daily because I enjoy sharing things I love in a less-invasive (and less tiresome) way than other media outlets.
I will be auto-scheduling all of my new blog post updates to Facebook and Twitter from my blog platform which I can do without having to get directly on social media. In case someone doesn’t get my new posts by email, they’ll have an easy way to see updates on those channels if they prefer to use them more than email.
I plan to still use Instagram because I like supporting other bloggers and my favorite brands there and connecting with them. But when it comes to my content, I want to be careful what I share. For instance, I will share something if I have a new blog post to share or genuinely feel inspired to share something else, not just to post on a schedule or because I feel I should post X number of photos per day.
I will also be checking my Facebook page for this blog in case I get messages during the week, and I’ll be sharing all new blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If I find something online that I love and find inspirational from others, I’ll also be sharing that occasionally too.
What I won’t be doing is posting several daily random updates on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter “just because I need/have to”because it doesn’t feel authentic to me, I don’t enjoy it, and I feel as though it seems showy to others.
2. Authentic Work and Joy: Social media steals my joy and it steals time away from me doing my best work. It also steals time away from my family who I still have the pleasure of being with daily— and worst of all— it takes my thoughts away from what God thinks of me and turns my thoughts into what the world thinks of me.
Inner dialogue—> “How many likes will my photos get? How will companies that I want to work with judge me based on this post? What do people in my community think of me?” This internal madness is just too much and seems insane.
3. Definition of Success: I will not define this blog, my intentions, or my success by how well I do on social media. If that means fewer opportunities come my way because companies or people value my numbers more than they do me as a writer and person, then so be it. I can still write, blog, and create without spending hours a day on social media. It’s not me and never will be. Period.
Am I Crazy?
I realize that taking this stand for myself may seem strange and weird in the world we live in, but I’m not looking to fit in or be approved; I’m looking to be me and be authentic. Also, know that I’m not doing this because I don’t enjoy connecting with many of you or because I am some angry person who hates social media. I simply want to live more in my life and focus on my work more than I spend time on social media.
I suggest reading the book, Deep Work, if you want more understanding of my reasoning and watching this speech which I watched last month and that inspired and propelled my decision to decrease my presence on social media.
As Honest as it Gets: Facebook, Twitter, and InstaConfessions
Now here’s where it gets more real: I’ve come to hate Facebook more than I can explain (especially since the election), and I have no desire to stay on Twitter all day viewing the endless updates. It steals joy, is pointless, and people are always on the next day thinking about something else anyway.
Instagram has also become just like Facebook in the way that the social media giant automatically aggregates (chooses) how people view updates from the people they follow, which isn’t based on the order of what people posts but how well Instagram think users will like what is posted. Which means half of what I post isn’t seen anyway… another reason to hate social media.
I’m done with the guessing game of getting my content seen on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. I have no desire to post what I eat at every meal on Instagram each day because honestly, I don’t think people care that much what I eat. Or at least, I hope they don’t.
The day Instastories came out, I cringed inside. I hate the thought of getting on video and it’s the epitome of everything I’m not. All of you who do it well, you deserve a huge applause, but I’m not one of you, friends!
Let me just put it real to you all: My budget has been slim-pickings the last few months, I’ve been eating a lot of the same things each day, and thus, my recipe creations have slowed down a bit. I’m fine with that because I am grateful for what I have and because it will inspire me to be more creative with what I do post.
I like simplicity and prefer easy meals, but I don’t like feeling as though I have to share what I eat every single day or every meal. Having to come up with endless recipes when I’m already on a tight budget just for content purposes also doesn’t feel right or natural to me, nor do I think it’s particularly helpful to anyone, including all of you.
That doesn’t mean you won’t see many recipes or a variety of them, I just want to be honest about my situation so you’re in the know.
Plus, there are so many AMAZING food bloggers out there (especially plant-based/vegan bloggers) and I don’t think the world needs me to try to compete with them or become a full-time gourmet chef-type food blogger.
I definitely still plan on sharing some of my best recipes each week, so no worries if you’re just here for the food. But unless my grocery budget gets better real soon, or I start craving lots of different foods, you can expect about two new recipe posts a week, for the most part. You can also see what recipes from others that I’m pinning if you’re looking for more food inspiration too! 🙂
I have also decided that I may start sharing more of my favorite things that I read, find, etc., in a Weekly Favorites post or something similar. We shall see!
I’ve decided to no longer offer Nutritional Consulting part of my blog’s business. I’ve had the privilege to work with many amazing women through this type of work and I’ve loved helping them reach their goals. But… I have decided to focus my work more on writing and journalism along with health, nutrition, and wellness advocacy through this blog and other outlets more than I do with nutritional counseling.
This has been a hard decision but one I know that is best for me and my business. Thanks for understanding and thank you to those of you that I have had the joy of working with!
Not much will change regarding this blog, except you’ll see more lifestyle and nutrition posts alongside all of the recipes as well as more weekly favorites posts as time goes on. I will likely be blogging 3 times per week and will still be sending out my newsletter and stay in touch with readers through email and blog comments.
So while I’m not quitting social media, (or deleting any of my channels), I’ll definitely be detaching myself away it and reducing how much I use it.
I want to be more active in my daily life with the people I love, be happier with the things I do choose to share, explore/pursue some other options in my career, and I want to know that every single post I write on social media— no matter how infrequently— is done because I honestly wanted to share it, not because I feel I have to or am trying to fill up my feed.
I also want to branch out a little and use the time that I would have been spending time on social media each day to work better, explore further career/blog options and ideas and do other, more meaningful work than that of which social media has to offer.
Finally and most important, I also want to deepen my relationship with God and can’t do so if I’m constantly absorbed with the world and social media.
“The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever (with him in Heaven).” – 1 John 2:17
I hope that all of you can appreciate the realness of this update, and if you don’t, well I’m sorry. I am one of those people that “hands it over straight” no matter what. And I hope anyone can appreciate me for that, at the very least.
I also hope that you’ll still be reading this blog, but most of all, I hope that if you have something that’s stealing your joy in your daily life you would be willing to give it up without worrying about what others think of you or what might happen to you if you do.
<3 See you soon! <3