Updated to reflect the name change of Facebook, Inc to Meta.
I am leaving Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on October 31 and won’t return until January 1, 2021.
If at all.
Why? How? What the fuck?
In the beginning…
I’ve wanted to get away from Facebook for years.
But, like most entrepreneurs, I’ve held on because my business is present on Facebook. I “needed” to stay because of that. Despite how annoying and invasive the platform is. (I don’t use the Facebook Pixel on any of my sites or projects.)
In an attempt to step away personally, I deleted almost everyone from my friend’s list.
I “unliked” everything to the point that Facebook’s feed didn’t properly function when I logged in. I was an anomaly to the algorithm. “Add more friends and like more things,” it begged. Fuck no.
Then, as I joined things for business: courses, trainings, and groups… they all were on Facebook “for the community.” I caved to the fear of missing out and returned to Facebook for the Groups.
This pisses me off for many reasons, most of which is… now I’m paying to be on a platform I hate? Hundreds of dollars a month in total to be sucked into Zuckerberg’s trap if I want to “have community, and discussion”?
That’s not community. That’s coercion.
And yes, I’m aware that’s an extreme interpretation. But fuck if that isn’t what it feels like when I see it on sales pages now.
I’m aware that there are plugins and extensions for browsers to eliminate distractions. Distractions are only part of it. My big thing is… why do we all fall into the trap of feeling like we have to be on Facebook?
I’ve heard many reasons and have them as well: I can’t give it up. My friends are there! It’s the only way I get updates from family. What if I miss out? And ultimately, how will I run my business without it? Facebook does community best! Everyone is already there!
First, fuck me. I can only get updates from friends and family if I’m on Facebook? That’s a dynamic I have many thoughts on.
Second: My family and I ran an incredibly successful dot-com from 1996-2013 without social media. Surely, I could do it again.
Third: Facebook does it best? Do they? Or have we just been complacent with what is available to us because they have the market share?
It’s not a safe space for a lot of folks.
I started to feel a certain something…
So, yeah, I’m not on Facebook all that much, except in Groups. And I’m not happy to be there.
I live on Instagram. I enjoy being on Instagram. Most of the time.
The Fiery Well has utilized Instagram heavily for lead generation and relationship building. At the start of the pandemic lockdowns, I had my first “official launch” for The Wellspring. It was quite successful, and I did 90% of everything through Instagram.
But Instagram rejected my ads, and Facebook approved them, even to appear on Instagram (no clue why.) So I ran a few Facebook ads at my launch.
And when I did? A feeling in my gut started to form.
Suddenly, the act of giving Meta my money and not just my attention felt… wrong.
Why was I doing it? Why was I feeling this way?
This lead to further questions:
- Why was I giving any of these platforms my attention and energy? These platforms drain me emotionally, mentally, and physically.
- Why was I giving this company my money? It’s a conglomerate that breeds hate, furthers conspiracies, and caters to white supremacist fuckwads.
The answers are complicated. Fear of missing out? Fear of not succeeding with my business? Fear of losing connection and friendships I made? Wait. I’m staying because I’m scared to leave? That’s not usually a good sign in anything.
Admittedly, I can’t discount that I’ve made some fucking amazing connections and friendships on Instagram.
But the start of these relationships was at the whim of an algorithm. An algorithm that makes my own friends harder to find in my feeds, and I have to do that much more work to connect with new people. And keeping track of social justice movements? They are censored and suppressed by the algorithm. But conspiracy theories among the “wellness and spirituality” accounts isn’t? And domestic terrorists can organize effectively & safely, but not Indigenous Peoples’ when they’re trying to protect the very land, water, and air we all share?
What the actual fuck.
And just… is my presence and use of Facebook & Instagram contributing to, and perpetuating, the harm I am also actively working against in my own real-life and community? This thought is constantly on the back of my mind when I log in.
It’s a mixed bag because I also find movements & organizations to share, support, and engage with through these platforms.
Like I said: it’s complicated.
The Question & Reaction
In one of the few Facebook groups I’m still in (and will be leaving), someone asked, “Is it possible to- dare I say it- have a successful online presence without Facebook and Instagram? Or are they necessary evils at this point?”
I replied that I think it’s essential to ensure it is successful without them. Without social media in general.
Which got me really thinking.
Can it be done?
Can I do it?
That feeling in my gut? Grew bigger. Louder.
I started to really sit in my feels and take a look around.
Everyone wants a sense of community; it’s human. The global pandemic has made that desire all the more profound and challenging. All of our gatherings, communications, conversations, and community is online now.
And Meta is a default. (They own Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, Giphy, Whatsapp, and more.)
My little Aquarian heart does not take well to complying with norms. Why is Meta the apparent standard? We all hate them, and yet…
Why are we choosing to engage in the “necessary evil” of social media mentality? We are treading the waters of necessary evils in this world in so many other ways. Frankly, I’m tired. (What social media is doing to my own mental health is another post to come…)
I can’t tell you how much my heart is filled with joy every time I see the leader of a relatively large group say, “We’re doing our own thing and leaving Facebook Groups” or “This is our last post on Instagram; find us on Patreon or our Podcast.”
I do a dance every time I see the email or, yes, social media posts. Do they lose engagement or customers? Certainly. But they are paving the path for the audience they want. For their audience.
For Facebook to not be the norm.
Can you tell I really hate Meta? I hate Meta.
After discussing recent changes to the Instagram platform with a friend, my gut feeling went deadly calm… a sign I need to tap in and pay attention even more.
My brain went from personally hating Meta, but tolerating it for the sake of engagements and discussions… to hating Meta as a business owner, and ready to stop contributing to their bottom line.
Our constant search for high engagement and likes and comments… serves what they want: to keep people on the platform. Do we benefit? When it works, absolutely. But then they change the rules. Or the game entirely.
So, as business owners, I gotta ask:
Why the fuck are we doing this?
Why are we willing to put up with constant changes at the whim of large corporations? And not just large corporations, but asshole racist pieces of shit-owned companies that censor Black Lives Matter but not white supremacists, and domestic terrorists?
Repeatedly and much to our aggravation?
Do we have a choice? I recognize that not all businesses, especially small ones, do. But those that do have a choice?
Why are we choosing this?
That’s what I’m asking myself, for my business: why am I using a platform that goes against every core value I have as a business owner?
There is nothing more I want to do for small online business owners than to model what is possible.
That you can build the business you want, within your values, and on your terms.
My service is working to find the solution that works, not for everyone, but for you.
And it’s time I did that for myself.
When did I stop listening to my gut and doing what felt right for me? For the business I want to create? I’m not sure. But, from now on… I’m doing what feels right for me. For my business. For my values.
And right now… that’s not Facebook or Instagram. (I’m also leaving Twitter, but that is a whole ‘nother blog post.)
It is my hope that by doing this, investing in finding alternatives, and sharing them, I can help others make the choices regarding social media that they want for themselves.