I took a break from social media & this is what I learned.

Hi!

As you may or may not know, I love social media. It has been the center of my profession for over 10 years and a way to connect with other families with similar situations as Beatrice. It has been an avenue for healing as I’ve navigated grief & for someone with a terrible memory, it’s been a place to document every stage with my girls.

It has also been a distraction from my family, a false sense of friendship, and a time suck.

Have you watched The Social Dilemma? I sat down and watched it with Jordan & had a pit in my stomach the whole time. Everything they were talking about was what I already knew to be true and afterwards I felt a strong pull to just delete Instagram and Facebook for 48 hours to see how it would affect me.

It’s been a week and I’ve learned so much about my relationship with social media.

1. Liking & Commenting on Instagram was giving me a false sense of friendship. I would comment or like a friend’s photo and really feel like I was in touch with their life and what was going on with them. Instead of picking up the phone or even shooting over a text, I’d think about them and just look on their Instagram account to see what they’ve been up to. Not being able to just go do that, I was forced to pick up the phone or send a text really checking in – and the response to my question of “how are you?” was always vastly different that what was portrayed on their latest Instagram post. Social media made me feel like I was being a good friend by being up to date on what friends were doing via social when in actuality, it made me a worse friend because I rarely purposefully reached out.

2. I wasn’t sleeping well. A typical night for me would be to get the girls tucked in, do some stuff around the house and then climb into bed and mindlessly scroll. I would scroll & scroll & scroll until I became tired enough to go to sleep. I would be a little restless overnight but always blamed the girls until I took a break from social media. Instead of filling my nights with scrolling, I have been reading or needlepointing and going to bed earlier. I have never slept harder than I have over the last 7 nights.

3. I was disengaged. After watching TSD I had a flash forward of my girls on their phones while I’m trying to get their attention and hear about their day. It was a jarring thought and one that catapulted me into my 48 hour turned 7+ day social media hiatus. Not having my phone by my side for every second to capture every moment has made me a better mom. I’m not constantly down a rabbit hole on social media while my kids are begging me to watch their latest dance move. Instead, I am purposefully leaving my phone in my bedroom or inside when playing outside so I can fully engage with the girls.

4. I love using social media to connect with families struggling with pediatric illness. One of my favorite things about social media are all of the people from all over the world I’ve been able to connect with. Tons of families reach out regularly to message about their child’s upcoming liver transplant or recent diagnosis and I’ve love sharing our experience with them and helping them through theirs. It’s been one of my greatest joys and has ignited my love for raising awareness and funds for research.

5. I love partnering and promoting brands. Social media is a wonderful way to humanize your brand and make yourself more relatable to your customers. I have loved consulting businesses on how to leverage social media to better their business and I’ve loved personally promoting businesses that I love and am passionate about.

6. #lemonAID. Let’s be honest, social media – when used for good – is a super powerful tool for telling a good story & fundraising. The kid’s lemonAID stand in 2019 is the perfect example of that. People saw these kids as little philanthropists and matched their $148 donation to Cincinnati Children’s after we posted a picture on Instagram. Donations rolled in over 7 days and $200,000 was raised mainly by promoting through that same platform.

I honestly could go on and on about all of the things I have learned over this short 7 day social media break but the most shocking thing of all: I could definitely keep my hiatus going. I haven’t truly missed social media all that much but want to hop back on for the GOOD reasons I listed above. Yes, I will still post pictures of my girls and their life stages. BUT, I will do it more purposefully and will spend less time scrolling. I will deliberately check in on friends and I will welcome connections with people struggling through pediatric illness & liver disease. I will promote businesses I think others will benefit from knowing about and I will ALWAYS share my love for Cincinnati Children’s.

I just may not do all of the above as often 🙂

xo

Hillary

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