159. Escape Social Media and Find Freedom
Why we should be more aggressive about getting off social media
This week, Michelle and I discussed our case for aggressively getting off social media. We had been off most social media for many years. However, when I started my sabbatical in September 2023, I decided to try and build Build a Wealthy Spirit’s presence on social media.
I started creating little videos using TikTok and posting them on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Being deep in the anti-social media literature, I thought I knew the traps that could steal my attention and how to avoid them. I planned to create a video regularly, post it, and leave the application.
Of course, this did not happen. The best and brightest people in the world work at these companies trying to keep my eyeballs on the screen. Why did I think I was smarter?
A small portion of my life was wasted creating this video
It started innocently. Since I wasn’t familiar with the platform, I figured I should watch some videos to get an idea of what content is out there. I even limited the time I could spend doing this.
At first, my time limits worked, but I did notice that I started to see the world through the lens of these short-form videos. A song would play and I would imagine a funny skit I could create with the music in the background. I would be inspired by tracking my finances or a wonderful sabbatical day and immediately think about how I could turn the takeaways into a short-form video. The lens of social media tainted my view of the world.
Soon, I was watching videos longer than my allotted time. I would return to my phone after posting a video to see if people watched it. When I saw my screen time increase, I started to question the idea of using social media to spread the word of the podcast.
It did not seem like social media resulted in any new podcast listeners. I started to think about how I spend my time. If I wanted to be successful at this, I would have to post nearly daily. Did I want to spend more time creating videos? Even if I was successful at the social media platforms, that did not translate into podcast success. Would I want to be a content creator on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube?
Absolutely not. I did not leave my job to spend time indoors looking at a cell phone. If success meant more time inside looking at a cell phone, then count me out. I did not want my thoughts to be filled with ideas about what to post on social media. The whole purpose of pursuing financial independence was to spend my time doing things I love.
I put a hard stop on our social media. No more quippy short-form videos. I’ve fully embraced my original sabbatical goals and most of my time goes to friends, slow and long runs outside, spinning, and super stretchy yoga classes. Now I live by the CoastFI mantra of our CampFI friend, David Robinson:
“When you are CoastFI, you should not spend any time doing things you don’t like to do.”
How do you manage your social media usage? Have anyone completely given it up?
Discussing how we can take advantage of being CoastFI at CampFI
Your phone is trying to control your life on PBS with Tristan Harris
The Top 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2024 by Visual Capitalist
Thank you, Kat, for your concerns that we may be joining a cult
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