“This month, scorpios cannot make sense of other people’s opinions and the current discourse. Some superficial small talk may be exhausting, especially the one shared on social media. The scorpio loves the real life and needs it even more to be successful this month. Too much texting, liking and posting leaves a sense of emptiness. But optimism does come back at the end of the month.”
I am not a believer in horoscopes but I do admit that I read them. Most of the time, I read them after the month in question has passed to check if they were “true”. The above quote is from the horoscope in the May issue of Vogue Germany. I discovered it last weekend – right at the end of my “digital detox experiment”.
Over the past year, I have learned to prioritise certain types of media and channels. Staying informed is crucial but I do think that there is something like being over-informed as well in the sense of an over-consumption. When it came to the pandemic and the related travel measures, I decided that the only source of information was the official one released by the governments. Everything else, I tuned out – travel advertisements and wrong information about travel destinations or a lack of fact checking just upset me too much while I was stuck in Austria and geographically separated from my partner.
In my last Postcard, I wrote about the importance of not obsessing about small things, as they require a lot of energy and unnecessarily drain us. One source of these small things I decided not to “sweat” anymore was social media. Due to my job, I heavily rely on social media to promote my work. As I mentioned in one of my articles, social media accounts and websites are like shop windows or catalogues. Hence, I have to stay up-to-date. I follow countless accounts which inspire me, try to learn from them and implement similar strategies on my accounts. This in itself is not an issue. But the tricky part is closely linked to it.
Recently, I spent a lot of time on social media, especially on Instagram. When I checked my phone two weeks ago about the amount of time I spend on the apps daily, I was shocked. Two hours per day. It did not even feel that much. But then I traced it back: I opened the app to share something on the feed or in my stories which did take a bit of time. While I was waiting for everything to upload, I started to watch stories and then I went deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, only to remind myself that I need to stop after about ten minutes. If you do this multiple times a day, let’s say for ten minutes each time, two hours can be reached pretty soon. Furthermore, out of habit or boredom, I caught myself opening up the app randomly, or even unconsciously, and starting to watch.
I also felt more and more that social media invaded my privacy. I always had the view that what we share on social media is a persona we create. Especially, if we use it for professional reasons. (I am sure most Instagram users also have personas for their private accounts, but this is a very different discussion which I would not like to start today. Just a small reminder: Not everything we see on Instagram is real. ;)) I always wanted to share real snippets of my life and, hence, I mostly shared them instantly to my stories. This not only ended up that I was not in the moment but also sometimes let to me even obsessing in the backseat of a car to quickly share something. Moreover, sharing instantly meant that people knew where I was and could assume what I was doing at a certain point in time. Sometimes in a positive way – a friend texting they were in the same neighbourhood and could meet for a quick coffee. But sometimes also in a way which I found really intrusive. People with whom I had tried to disengage started “strategically” watching my stories and repeatedly asking me to meet up. It did not feel fun anymore. It actually made me feel uncomfortable. I dreaded posting because I felt that I “had” to post for the sake of staying “relevant”, rather than really sharing genuine aspects of my life which may inspire other people.
Hence, I decided to go on a week without Instagram. At first, it was mainly driven by the fact that I wanted to test how decreased engagement on Instagram affected engagement on my websites. But it soon turned out to be an experiment for myself as well. How would I feel if I did not watch my favourite accounts? How did I feel about not sharing what I was doing instantly?
Frankly, I did not miss it at all. And I do not have the feeling that I missed out on anything. On the contrary, I was glad that some of the social media noise did not bother me. When I went back online today to check if I received any messages, I did not even feel the need to watch stories anymore. I do not think that detoxing is a permanent solution. Similar to a food-related detox period, they lead us from one extreme to another – very often from over-eating to under-eating. Similarly, a detox in the digital world just goes from over-use to not using it at all. Moving forward, I want to apply a balanced and sustainable approach.
I do want to keep using Instagram as a tool to engage with followers and, of course, to promote my business. Nevertheless, I will apply a more balanced and strategic approach. I will keep posting walks, museum visits, travel recommendations and things I truly enjoy. But in a more structured way which will also be more interlinked with thepinklookbook.com. For example, I will put together interesting walking tours and share beautiful pictures – but rather in a curated “batch” than posting every five minutes when I photograph something nice. I do hope that this will keep the personal bond I could establish over the past years with my readers and followers but at the same time allow me the amount of privacy I need.
Social media and platforms like Instagram have become inextricably linked to our daily lives. Furthermore, they are a great alternative for small businesses as well as established corporation to market their products. Of course, they have also become part of our social lives. But I really do hate it and find it incredibly rude when I meet friends and staging a picture and instantly sharing it seems to be more important to them than enjoying my company. I am a scorpio who, according to the wise horoscope, prefers the real world and now that this real world can slowly open up again in some parts of the world, I want to really be able to take it all in.
What is your view on your Instagram usage? Do you think you sometimes overuse it sometimes as well?