Article by Siena Friend
Have you ever found yourself saying, “Sometimes I wish I could just delete my Instagram account, but I don’t want to miss out”? Or maybe you’re a social-media butterfly who loves posting stories throughout the day and has to be reminded to put her phone down. As artists, keeping up with the socials can be an important part of our job, but if you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s a struggle to find the right balance. Whatever your social media style, the start of the new year is a great time to rethink your relationship and make sure it’s keeping you in the right direction. I invite you to try one of these challenges each week for the next five weeks, and let me know if you see any positive changes!
Here’s our 5 ways to re-think social media this year.
- Challenge One: Set your daily limit
Do you find yourself checking Instagram or other apps without thinking, just because they’re there? There’s actually a scientific reason why we do this! Recent studies have shown that social media stimulates the feel-good chemical dopamine in our brain, and over time we can become addicted to this reward response, just like we can get addicted to food or drugs. It’s very tempting to click and get that little boost that comes from seeing all those hearts add up on our new post, but checking in too much can actually drain our energy and take our focus off the tasks at hand.
So instead of checking in ALL day, can you schedule certain times to be on? Maybe you create a post in the morning, then turn the app off until the afternoon, where you give yourself 30 minutes to respond to any comments or DMs that have come in. When it comes to Instagram, my motto is “post it and forget it.”
Extra credit: Turn off your notifications
If you haven’t done this yet, please try it! What is the likelihood that you’re going to finish your project if your mind keeps getting distracted by pings from your phone? I also love to make use of my iPhone’s downtime and App Limits to help reinforce good habits. Take the power back and respond on your own time–instead of everyone else’s.
- Challenge Two: You do YOU.
It’s easy to look at what everyone else is doing online and copy it. If you see something you love, let it inspire you, but don’t feel like you have to do it just because. The most important thing is to find a way to express yourself authentically that feels good to YOU. Think about what lights you up and what would be a genuinely fun way to share with your audience. There’s so many different ways we can interact on Instagram with live streaming, IGTV, and IG stories; but don’t feel like you have to do them all. If you hate making IG stories and love posting beautiful, curated photos, focus on that! If you’re tired of constantly showing your pretty face, share something else like personal photography, artwork, or photos of your lyrics. Your fans will probably love seeing this side of you!
- Challenge Three: Follow fewer people to make deeper connections
If you’re like me, sometimes you get lost in the sea of social media and forget what’s actually so amazing about it–the chance to connect with total strangers all over the world who share your passions. Instead of spending our time endlessly scrolling, why not make the time we spend on Instagram more meaningful by taking the extra step to reach out in a real way? If you love someone’s song or video, write them a meaningful comment or a DM instead of just giving it a like. If you really relate to someone’s story, make sure to thank them and share what it meant to you. I’ve had friendships blossom this way. Of course, this can feel very overwhelming if you follow thousands of people. I heard a tip that the way to keep your Instagram a truly happy place is to limit yourself to following 500 users at one time, which I think is a great idea. It can be tempting to play the numbers game and do follow for follows, but then your feed becomes full of random people that you can’t possibly keep up with! Trust that the best way to grow your audience is posting great content and making real connections, not following every single person in your industry. If you haven’t done this for awhile, I challenge you to go through your account and delete delete delete! If you’re having trouble deciding ask yourself: does it make me smile to see this person’s posts? If not, they’re out!
- Challenge Four: Delete your app once a week.
This one is my favorite! Have you ever had the pleasure of going on a weekend retreat or taking a day out in nature where you don’t have any cell service? I remember doing a meditation retreat a couple years ago where the instructor took all of our phones the night we got there and kept them for three days until we left. It was one of the most rejuvenating weekends of my life, and I came back to the city so refreshed, clear-headed, and ready to take on the world. Of course, we don’t have the luxury to leave our phone in a drawer for the day very often, but I think we can all give ourselves one social-media free day a week. I’ve recently chosen Sunday as my day off, and I actually delete the IG app from my phone for the day. Give this a try, especially if you are a daily user, and you might be surprised what happens! Warning: you may find yourself writing more songs as a side effect.
- Challenge Five: Stop playing the comparison game
Have you ever heard the expression, “don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides”? Nowhere is this more relevant than on social media, which is basically set up to encourage us to play the comparison game. It’s easy to focus on the numbers and compare followers, Spotify listens, or media attention someone else is getting. But no matter if you have 100 followers or 100k, you can always find someone above you to compare yourself to. Chasing the numbers will be an endless game–so stop doing it! If you find yourself falling into this trap, focus on sharing something small that you’re really proud of–a video of yourself practicing a new chorus you wrote that you’re totally in love with, or a photo from that amazing hike you took this morning.But what if you just can’t stop playing the comparison game? What if every time you log on you get a sinking feeling that you’re not doing enough? That’s when it’s time to PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Studies have shown that if you struggle with depression, anxiety or loneliness, social media literally makes these symptoms worse. So give yourself a break, go snuggle with your cat, and remember that the best things in life happen when the screens are off.
How are you re-thinking social media ? I’d love to hear from you.