My Social Media Slowdown



My parents were very strict with our education. Beside other important values, they thought my brother and me to ignore others lives and focus on our dedication. During the last decade I struggled with social media, suspending impulsively my accounts several times trying to focus on real life. Without any attempts of analysis or psychological explanations, I always lost the battle and found myself again on news feed wall. Today I reached the awareness that made me act in order to change my time management. Twenty days could seem a too short experiment to reach conclusions, but I learnt so much and changed many things in my daily life that wanted to write about that.


Note: This is my experience. Whenever you are satisfied with your life and your social media, I am happy for you!


As a convinced and proud independent artist I am responsible of my communication and public marketing. Feeling I had to improve those aspects, I ordered a marketing plan from a professional agency. In short, I should post:

- on Twitter at least 5 times a day 

- on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram 4 times a week (on a specific time and days)

- make stories everyday

- reach at least 500 following on Twitter 

- reach at least 500 contacts on LinkedIn

- write a newsletter at least once a month


You probably have heard about the experiment of the Solo violinist and Grammy winner Hilary Hahn #101dayofpractice on Instagram. Taking advantage of starting a new communication routine, I decided to begin a cycle of habits and virtuous behaviours. Since my nature resists any attempts to copy or emulate others ideas, I designed my ‘101 days for me’. The rules were very simple and conceived as 5 daily tasks: 

- practice violin

- move my body (stretch, yoga or fitness)

- take care of the home (one activity of max 30 minutes)

- make one thing from my ‘101 things for me’, the list of my favorite activities to recover (ex. journaling, paint, watch ‘that’ movie, read ‘that’ book, go horse riding, take a hot bath...),

- follow the marketing plan. 


Everyday. 


So on Monday 30th of September I started. I scheduled all the activities with calendar reminders and was motivated to follow them carefully.

Monday was a productive day, with the proud feeling of following a plan and be stick to it. 

Tuesday was also a nice one, although I started already feeling weird. 

Wednesday I was not well, but I couldn’t understand why: I was posting as planned, practicing violin, doing sport and taking care of me.

Finally, Thursday I understood.

That ‘social media’ thing was theoretically the only disturbing element in my very clean and productive daily routine. I needed a break to understand why I was so uncomfortable with my tasks. So I moved in a folder all the apps concerned (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) and decided to not open them anymore. I didn’t have a plan, but I knew I needed some rest. This is was happened than.


STATE 1: SELF-DEFENCE. Social Media: pure addiction. Not all of us have the same response to addictions. For example, I was never stocked on smoking or drinking alcohol, while - as everyone - I have tried it. Somehow social media fucked my survival defence.I started observing how many times I opened the phone automatically to check my profiles. I stopped before open the applications and told myself: "Ah! Here you are. What are you searching for?"


STATE 2: ANALYSE. The pressure of producing contents. The timeline to publish posts was way faster than my life rhythm. Obviously I could post my breakfast, my socks, my violin, my makeup... but what was the goal of doing that? Where the hours of practice searching an authentic musical phrase find the place there? I wanted to publish interesting contents concerning my profession! What is the value of a community that want to see how I brush my teeth? Not too far ago that was still called ‘stalking’ or ‘peeping Tom’! At first, I questioned myself. I wondered if my life was too boring, not interesting enough, at the point I felt so under pressure that I though about planning activities in the week just to be able to have contents to post. Finally, in the kitchen, sharing my ideas with my husband I realised that I didn’t want to live in order to post stuff.That my life had nothing wrong. On the contrary, everything was finally the right way to go, with the exception of social media activity. The obsession of posting at the speed required by those plateforms to reach results (with the consequences of not having enough quality contents and become mad about it ), the obligation of being present and interact on all social media - which included also browsing and interacting with others contents - made me completely burned out. I was disgusted, discouraged. I felt notavailable to live that way.


STATE 3: ALTERNATIVES. Entertainment substitutions. In the absence of occupying my brain with uninteresting news of others lives, I started to fill up the silence with documentaries on Netflix, readings on Medium and several types of podcast. This behaviour lasted for 5 days, decreasing gradually. Now I know what I was avoiding: silence. I was addicted  to be entertained non-stop.


STATE 4: NEW MINDSET. Peace of mind. At day 6 suddenly I started to stretch without needing a podcast company, to eat a snack listening to the noise of the chocolate under my teeth, to iron watching wrinkles disappearing... I started focusing on what I was doing in the present moment. Opening my closet I noticed that my taste concerning style and brands was changing. My endless-luxurious-shopping-wish-list has undergone a certain revolution, getting only very few items. Living permanently on advertising directed massively my taste and desires. That was such a powerful awareness: me, the women proud of her independence, completely slave of the market! That was a non-go. I remember walking in my husband’s office and saying: "since I experiment silence and accept absence I am feeling as I live in constant state of meditation." I just felt the need to practice my violin and take care of me and my family. Enjoying silence.


CONCLUSION

It happened several times in my life, that I embraced a trend when it was not popular, and I quit it once it reached street cred, always for complexes reasons far to be just « live against the grain ». In 2008 I’ve become vegan, when even the definition of the therm was unknown in Europe (in fact it was almost impossible to find vegan meals). Ten years later, in 2018, when the supermarket shelves were getting full of vegan stuff, when the etiquettes 'vegan' have invaded food packaging (included... bananas ! ), when at every corner a new ‘vegan cafe’was born, than I changed diet. I feel I’ve always lived out of fashion: clearly too early.


Today I spend a max. of 10 minutes a week on social media, growing my mailing list with who's authentically interested in my work, meeting people live and making phone calls, in order to be able to eventually delete my social media accounts in the next future. From my past experiences, I can only predict that in 10 years massive amount of people will do the same and start back to nourish their own authentic dreams, free from external approvals/suggestions.


The question is: where I would be than, and what I would do next?


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© 2020 Irene Abrigo | Photo credits: Sophie Robert-Nicoud www.sofy.ch