After hitting “publish” yesterday I realized I made a mistake.
While cleaning the junk out of my inbox is definitely a step toward improving my digital life, I was overlooking a major area of my online existence that has been sucking the life out of me, to an even greater extent than my inbox.
And seeing as how we’re likely connecting right now, as you’re reading this, through one social media channel or another, I feel I need a bit of a disclaimer.
Because the fact is, I LOVE social media. The people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve made are some I wouldn’t trade for the world.
The issue is with how I’m using it.
Case in point:
Yesterday while scrolling through my Instagram feed I realized that I had absolutely no connection with the people who had posted the first 10 pics or so that popped up in my feed.
I had no idea who they were. And not in the sense that I didn’t know them in “real life” — some of my closest and most valued connections are with people I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting in person.
The reality was I didn’t recognize their names or remember how I came to be following them in the first place.
I found myself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling just to get to pictures I was interested in seeing.
Posted by people I care about.
People I have a connection with.
By people or personalities or businesses with messages I wanted to hear.
So I started doing something I NEVER do.
One by one, I started going through the profiles I didn’t recognize, unfollowing those I had no connection with.
Which at first felt a little mean, like I was somehow slighting these strangers by decreasing their follower count and excising myself from their day-to-day lives.
But then I started thinking about how I would feel, if someone were doing the same thing with MY social channels.
And while I’d totally be lying if I said I didn’t notice numbers or if I didn’t compare myself to where I “stand” as far as social media audiences are concerned, I realize there is something even bigger at play.
Follower counts don’t measure connection.
And isn’t that the whole point?
Isn’t that why it’s called “social” media?
To be social?
To make friends and create communities and learn and grow and connect?
So the very LAST thing I would want is for someone to feel that my pictures popping up in their feed was a drain on their day. That I was the clutter that was junking up their life.
I would want them to drop me like it’s hot.
Drop kick my butt right out of their life so they could create space to place their time and attention with those people and on those things that matter most to them.
Because regardless if I’m fortunate enough to be included in your inner circle, it’s not about me — it’s about you. What you care about. About the life you’re wanting to create.
So, in what is probably the most unlikely advice you will get from someone who depends on social media and email subscribers to make their living, this is my invitation to you:
If at any time my message no longer resonates or you find you need to create more space in your life that doesn’t include me, hot potato my ass.
You’ve only got one life, one shot, one kick at the cat.
So pick and prune and cut and slice until you get to a place where you’re surrounded by the people and things that you love, light you up and bring you joy.
All the rest is just filler.