On Returning to Instagram

 

Well, here we are. It’s been almost six months since I deleted my Instagram account and removed myself completely from social media - and now I’ve decided to step back in. Being without social media has been one of the most liberating, relaxing and joyful experiences of my life, and if I didn’t have a freelance career I would never go back. My Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts were a hybrid of personal and business, which meant I was consumed by them 24/7 and completely addicted to my phone. So this time, there are going to be some changes…

Reasons for Leaving

I’ve already written about my reasons for leaving social media and recorded this video to explain it in more detail. To summarise:

- I was wasting huge amounts of time on my phone
- I was addicted to scrolling, and at the same time put way too much energy into posting the ‘perfect’ content
- It was fragmenting my day, making me less productive and completely sapping my creativity
- I was fed up of posting a fun moment on Instagram rather than enjoying that moment

All in all, I wanted to focus on enjoying life in the real world, having real conversations and creating meaningful work, rather than ‘content’. They were bloody good reasons, in my humble opinion, so what made me change my mind?

Detox and Clarity

First thing’s first. While I am going back to Instagram, I’m never getting Facebook or Twitter again. They are both too toxic and time-wasting for me, and I’m happy to let them rest. Secondly, now that I’ve been away from social media for so long, I feel I’ve broken my ‘addiction’ to it and can look at Instagram with fresh eyes. I’ve written myself a handful of rules that I will be sticking to rigidly - rules that will stop me slipping back into my old ways, and help me decide which content I want to share. Some of these are private, but I’ll be limiting myself to one daily session of Instagram - a time to relax with a coffee, post content, be inspired by others, and intentionally enjoy looking at Instagram without the guilt. After that, I won’t look at it again until the next day’s session.

The important thing is that I still don’t think of myself as having any personal social media accounts. What I mean by this, is that while my new Instagram account will be about me and my work, I will be distancing myself more than I did before. Apologies if this sounds a bit cold, but I’m embracing Instagram as a way to share my professional work, not my personal life. Sometimes those overlap, which is fine! But everything I post will be focused and intentional - which I think will make for better content anyway. For that reason, I won’t be posting much on my ‘Stories’ feed unless it’s within my scheduled session - I did always love the spontaneity of Instagram, but I love feeling more present in the real world, and after six months I’ve finally managed to remove the instinct to share every moment online, and to simply enjoy it instead.

Work and Play

I sort of feel like a cleaned up alcoholic whose allowing themselves one drink a day… I’m fairly self-disciplined and I have experienced the joy of not being addicted to my phone, so I’m hoping the combination of both will make this a success! While there were so many things I didn’t like about social media, I won’t pretend I’m not excited to be back. When used correctly, it’s such a pool of inspiration and ideas, and while I stand by the fact that you don’t need social media to run a freelance business, it can be such a great tool if you maintain a balanced approach.

So there we are! I’ve received so many wonderful messages and emails from people who were inspired by me deleting social media, and I hope this won’t be a disappointment. Like I said, I still don’t consider myself as having any ‘personal’ accounts, because when I removed that need to share and waste time, it was unbelievably liberating. As an author and artist, I want as many tools in my toolbox as possible, and I feel ready to jump back into the online world and make it work for me - not be sucked back into a vortex of addiction.

Thank you for continuing to follow me on this journey, and if you’d like to follow me on Instagram - click here!