For the last nearly 12 years I've been telling myself, "You know, if I didn't need social media for my business, I totally wouldn't be on it." Back then my business was playing music, touring, and producing records. I started playing music in the age of MySpace, and I owe what success I experienced in those years to my savvy useage of social media. I really did need to engage with these platforms in order to develop my music career and make enough money to galavant across the country as much as I did. Now, though, things are different.
Most obviously, my career is different. I'm not trying to play a different show every night in towns I've never heard of to people who've never heard of me. I'm teaching yoga. Social media is different, too, and of course it is. It's always changing. In some ways for the better, and in some ways not so much. Where in the early days of social media (think Xanga, AIM, and MySpace), things seemed a lot more personal. It seemed like it really did bring a deeper and more widespread connection to my world. It was a new and exciting way to embrace the whole of humanity, but that humanity has been lost somewhere a long the way.
Now, I'm sure there are a select few people in the world who really are deeply and intentionally engaged with the world around them through social media, but I can bet you it is a very rare exception to the rule. I feel safe in saying, for the vast majority of us, when we're on social media, we're not deeply connecting with any one or any thing. We're scrolling. And that's confirmed by nearly EVERY social media workshop I've ever attended. Each and every one is about creating content strong enough to "stop the scroll." Which, by the way, is impossible.
So, in the last several months, I've heard myself complain about social media, spouting my age old saying, "I hate it, but I have to!" This time, though, something deep inside me stopped and asked, "Oh, really? You have to?" I know this voice well enough at this point to know that when I hear it, a whole lot of shit is about to change. So, I really started digging into my social media usage. What energy I was putting into it, what I was getting back in return, and how did it align with the deepest aim of my career. Long story short, the line I had been telling myself was a load of shit.
As both a yoga therapist and someone who is knee deep in their path on the spiritual journey, my greatest and highest aim is to wake up from my conditioned state of waking-sleep and help others do the same. For the last couple years I have been focused on creating content on social media that would serve that end. My posts have been honest and authentic, and have tried to encourage people to engage in their lives in a way that brought deep meaning. But there was a flaw in my plan.
Audre Lorde says, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." Basically, if social media is a tool that puts people to "sleep" or makes them less conscious or present, then using social media to try and wake them up will be a useless endeavor. And the worst part is not that my efforts were ineffective or unhelpful to other people (because I don't believe that to be wholly true), but that I became increasingly unconscious in how I engaged in social media. I became the poster child for mindless, like-hungry scrolling. I was more distractable, less patient, and less present with those I love. No bueno.
It became crystal clear that my usage of and engagement in social media was not in line with my aims or the life I want to live. But I was still concerned about my ability to have a successful yoga therapy and enneagram coaching practice with out it. And to be honest, I still am. I am still very unsure of how this will impact my business, but I feel as though I must do it anyway. And what's interesting is that it feels much less like a "leap of faith," and much more like an act of integrity. I'm not taking this leap wildly hoping things will work out; I'm stepping out knowing nothing about my business will work if I don't. If I want to help people remove the obstacles in their lives that keep them from their personal growth, then I have to remove mine first.
Obiously I'm not leaving the internet totally, but I am trying to find a space to make deeper connections with people through my online presence. Instead of trying to stop the scroll from inside the scroll, I'm asking people to join me online in more intentional ways. I will be blogging (hopefully, weekly) about my journey to become a yoga therapist, using the enneagram to work with my personality, and how the two compliment each other. I will be sending out email updates detailing my client specials and upcoming workshops and meetups. I will be using this time away from social media to focus my energy and attention on a few new projects as well. This may not be forever, and I'm okay with that. Sometimes space can help you get a better perspective on your relationship to something and show you how to fix what's really wrong. For the time being, though, social media is out.
With all of this, I want to encourage you, the reader, to contact me with your questions, comments, or concerns. My hope is that this blog will be more like a two-way street. You can always get in touch with me through my website's contact page, or reply to any of the email newsletters. And believe me, I'll read them and respond to them. So, how are you engaging with social media? How is it serving you, or not serving you? Do you resonate with this so much you're deleting Facebook off your phone as we speak? Do you think I'm totally full of shit and social media is the best thing ever? Shoot me an email and let me know about it!
Until next time friends, Happy New Year and Namaste!