I’ve finally done it. 2 years following my decision to delete Facebook from my life, I’ve now taken the next step – the deletion of both my private Twitter and Instagram accounts.
And do you know what? It’s only been a few days but it already feels great!
The best and worst thing to happen to society
In this weeks’ Inside Silverstone podcast interview, I speak with the impressive Sally Povolotsky about all things vehicle automation and her vision of the future, but also about social media and its impact on society.
The ability to connect with long-long friends is without doubt a phenomenal outcome of social media. Facebook, when it landed, was a revelation. Connecting. Liking. Sharing. Even the end of year ‘Friend’ video they produced on your behalf. All nice touch points.
Twitter then came along. Then Instagram. And many others to follow.
I joined. Like you no doubt. Creating followers breaching 1,000 (unsure why I’d get so many, seriously). Posting pictures of my life with Louise. My love of sport. Occasional ramble. And rant.
But I then started to fall into social media’s two main traps. You know the ones I’m talking about. Because whether we admit it or not, at some point they impact all of us.
The trap where we start to care about whether our posts are being liked or not. And if they’re even being viewed.
And the trap of viewing other people’s profiles, and wondering about their life, because that’s what you’re meant to do, isn’t it? Viewing profiles of people we’re not even friends with. An odd thing to do, if you think about it.
For me, the outcome of both is that we start to question those that we’re connected to, on social media, and perhaps in ‘real life’. The misinterpretation of someone’s public post, or the fact they’ve not liked a picture you’ve uploaded. If you’re not careful you fall into the very dangerous trap of believing it actually means something.
A trap I’ve witnessed others; friends, acquaintances, and professional peers; become so caught up in, that unless they take action, it’ll consume their lives (if not already). Seeing their desperate need for attention made me fully aware that, at times, I too had fallen foul.
Cutting out the noise
As an empathetic and caring financial planner, one of my main roles for my clients is to help them cut out the ‘noise’ that is the financial press, or financial porn as I call it.
This is because in the main the financial press exists to constantly hit us with pessimistic and Armageddon inducing bad news stories, in part to encourage us to either (a) click on the article, or (b) trick us into making a financially destructive decision.
And yet. At times, I myself have been caught up in the other type of ‘noise’ – social media. Allowing myself to get smashed with other people’s posts, stories, constant chattering. Friend. Peers. Even people I don’t like.
Why had I fallen into the trap?
Because that’s what happens. Fear of missing out. Wanting to be part of it. It allowed me to stay connected. Well, that’s what I made myself believe.
I personally don’t need social media, not really. The business does, but I don’t.
So, I’ve deleted my private accounts on Twitter and Instagram. No doubt some of my friends will think it odd. But nothing new there 🙂 And those who weren’t really friends …. well, who cares, right.
I might be back; only time will tell.
I’ll retain my personal LinkedIn account, because it’s been a great success for me professionally, and it’s now becoming an excellent corporate connector. No traps being fallen into here, but if I start to see a pattern, I’ll review.
Why post this article?
Socially, if I want to see someone, I’ll invite them over to our new house. Or go for a walk. Or go for a bite to eat, face-to-face. Or, I may just call them, because that’s what we used to do all those centuries ago.
It’ll be tough. The fear of missing out. But it’s already subsiding, just like it did with Facebook. More time to enjoy life outside of my phone. Louise will be happy. Just need to coach her off hers now ……. I joke.
But the truth is that I’m trying to lead the best possible life for me. This includes trying to be a better partner to Louise, a better friend to those I care about, and a better financial planner to my clients.
To do this I have to be authentic to myself. To actually implement the positive change I often encourage others to do.
To walk the talk.
And practice what we preach at Longhurst.
So here I am doing it. And sharing it with you. You might raise an eyebrow; which is fine. But for one of you, it might just hit a cord; and that’s what it’s all about.
For me at least, social media was not my ally. Instead it took on the role as the enemy. But it may be very different for you. Either way, and for now, I wish you all the best on your social media journey. Just keep your wits about you.