I’m choosing to be out of all digital social media. Why?
This article explores my personal history engaging in social media and giving some reasons why none of the existing digital social channels feel aligned with me at this time.
Because it’s draining my energy and ROEI (return on energy investment) is very, very low. IRL and communications via DMs are the way to go for me, even though I am capable of reaching a petite audience that way. It’s way more effective. Also, here is nice. Open blogging. Not on web3. I highly dislike the notion of having my work stored on chain.
A bit longer:
Social networks have become robotic, soulless, artificial intelligence — powered spaces where everyone is serving the mighty algorithms, with very little authentic and energetically pure content being shared. Most people share stuff out of the habit of sharing, simply because their online persona needs to be fed with energy of the audience simply to stay alive. I chose to kill my online persona and its various iterations, leaving one social network after another since 2020. I chose to focus on my physical, private life and leave the internet life to a minimum to improve my mental health and raise the quality of my life. And it’s working. DMs and emails are a nice way to do business comms and operations + strategic and quite powerful marketing. The era of social media marketing is ending as ai basically takes over our online lives leaving very little space for pure creative expression and experiencing high frequency synchronicities in a digital realm. Algorithms created by very small number of capitalistically driven individuals decide everything for us. How is this cool for the future of our civilization in any way?!
Proper length, because history matters:
I’ve been online since I was 11/12, that is around when we started to connect to the Internet at my family’s household. I almost immediately registered an email, it was one of my first to-dos. I also started showing up at some open chat rooms meeting random people online and it was creepy and fun. I practiced English that way. I also enjoyed looking at photos of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and was religiously saving them on the computer spending hours sorting them chronologically just to see them later be resorted back to a default sequence. And yeah, I deeply enjoyed reading Harry Potter fanfics. It taught me to learn about an abundance of timelines and possibilities in shaping stories of our lives.
I registered with AOL, ICQ and started a blog (they were called diaries back then) around when I was 12/13. Then MySpace and, later, Facebook and VK emerged. I joined these platforms as early as I could. I enjoyed the wonders of this mysterious online life and cute, gentle early social media vibes… nobody was really promoting anything. Everyone was just sharing pictures of themselves with friends having authentically good time. It was fun and efficient to stay connected with my irl friends and some mysterious online connections who ended up being my irl friends at some point anyways… I didn’t do anything naughty, the Internet was pretty basic back then, just explored my personal writing style on my closed blog, made new friends from different places, developed my aesthetics with being exposed to lots of images, enjoyed the process of selecting photos for my posts and was grateful to stay in touch with my international friends via instant messengers. My older sister was a huge influence on me in my early development stage of online life as she was studying in the US and sent me all these new links and early internet stuff from abroad… Around 13–14 I got super deep into fashion and was saving my favorite looks from designers runway shows to computer for my personal archive. I still have those files stored somewhere in my hard drives, it is super cute feeling to come back to them from time to time to see the beginning of my aesthetics curation journey.
VK was far more advanced and exciting than Facebook, and most of my friends were on VK so we used it to share funny pictures / early memes and music with each other. Nothing crazy, once again, I probably spent 3–4 hours a week on socials at that point.
When I was 18/19, already living in NYC I registered on Twitter because some cool fashion brands’ PRs were on it, so I also was leading my little fashion reporting account back then. I already had my own business at that age so I used social networks for promoting my online store and showroom and worked with some influencers to present my merch selection to the target audience. It was working well. It was all super intuitive for me— no education was available on social media marketing back then and we were all figuring out logical and not so logical ways to utilize social networks to their greatest potential at any given moment. My absolute favorite social media was Tumblr, because of its visual nature, easy reposting, endless visually satisfying rabbit holes, plus it had a really cool and engaged audience base at that time. I remember meeting the Tumblr founder at FIT (where I studied) where he presented his new platform to students. I even kind of had a crush on him for a bit because I loved what he did so much… my Tumblr page was called Meet a Dream.
I was around 21 when I got my first iPhone and downloaded Instagram. It was such hype. All the fashion people loved it and I had to be on it. I got an Iphone just for it because before that I was fine with my Nokia era. I didn’t overpost on early Insta, but clearly had more cool stuff to share than any average person, because of my rich and exciting life in NY, lots of travels and work at fashion weeks in NYC and Paris. It was nice, I was happy, my account was always closed and I still had over a thousand followers because I met a lot of new people all the time. Most people would follow me after we meet irl.
I had exciting internships in top NY-based fashion companies that generated a lot of cool insiders content and led a very glamorous life, so I was entertaining my followers well, I believe. I was not considering myself a blogger, I was much more closed up, posh and exclusive.
Also, NYC scenic photos on Insta once a week are like cat memes, they do magic. I wasn’t featuring my face much on Instagram, was simply preferring to stay backstage unless I was in the mood for using my Insta profile to test Tinder photos or non-verbally communicate with my ex or something… with every post the intention was to make the Internet a more beautiful space and archive most magical, exciting and powerful moments of my life. I loved my Instagram profile. Yes, sure I was still using Facebook but it felt outdated and boring compared to the visual nature of Instagram.
Stories on Insta appeared when I was around 26 and it added another dimension to my shares. What was exciting is to stay in touch with people I’ve met around the world during my digital nomad years and watch how their life unfolds (or how they presented it to be unfolding…).
I was on Twitter mostly for marketing and news sharing. I was active on it as I led my conscious fashion tech consultancy and events production company, Balanced Fashion and used it to synthesize and archive conscious fashion tech news for my biweekly newsletter.
Fast forward to 2020. I went hard on Instagram.
Very hard. It felt like a major acrhiving, history preserving, time capsule creating project to me. I overposted and went life basically daily to support the mental health of myself and my followers. I also felt like it was an opportunity for me to learn to publicly express myself authentically and honestly online as I’ve always been good with it offline but online at first it was weird to see my face on the screen. Oh yeah, I also had a YouTube channel that I launched in 2019… and started to record 10-min videos for Insta in 2018… I basically became a vlogger to inspire that one can leave the matrix and live life freely by being a freelancer or developing their own business venture. I had around 8k followers in total on Insta, as I also led my professional Balanced Fashion account, but, quite frankly, I always saw my ‘personal’ account as my personal brand account — so it was also professional. I pushed my own boundaries of public expression of vulnerability, my love for privacy and was consciously exploring layers of transparency. I invited my audience to my home, shared with them my work process, showed them items I owned, just hanged out via lives, living my life publicly and openly on Instagram. It felt very natural. It felt like it was the only way forward for me at that time.
Then of course there is a “decentralized” social media I’ve been part of as a cofounder… I will touch slightly on it in this article. I created 144 accounts and basically uploaded my consciousness between 2019 and 2022 on it. Three years of dedicated, intensely spiritual and emotional work was poured into that social network that I do not have access to anymore and all my content on there has been lost. Huge story. For some other time.
By the end of 2020 I stoped going live on Instagram as my era of my public life in NYC has come to an end. I also quit Facebook and removed all my history of content shared there, which was quite a project to execute.
March 2021 — Instagram removed my Balanced Humanity business account without any obvious reason besides me sharing some highly conscious content there and being followed by some key conscious leaders of that moment. I did not have a chance to back it up. It felt like a betrayal. I created Balanced Culture Instagram to share more niche, internet-friendly, web3 related content.
October 2021 — I stopped sharing on my ‘personal’ and Balanced Fashion and Balanced Culture Instagram accounts, stopped checking the feeds, removed the app from my device. It felt great. Felt like a deep liberation on oh so many levels. I do not miss it.
By the end of 2022/early 2023 I stopped posting on that “decentralized” social network because my work there was completed.
I played with Twitter on and off over these years, but also decided to not engage in it by some time in 2022, even though some rooms felt cute.
Playing on YouTube has been fun but I’ve used it more for transparent archiving my internet activity and all my 300+ videos, interviews with key people from my network and some personal shares there are now unlisted.
I know if I were to share my authentic thoughts on any platform that currently exists I’d be shadow banned like I was on all my Insta accounts as well as on Twitter and YouTube. I was even pushed out from the social network I cofounded. But if I were to share formal, normie and “politically correct” posts, that type of communications would not be representative of who I am. So reputation/social credit score of my emails used to register, IP addresses revealed when my VPN fails and my overall online identity has gone quite low in the eyes of the key social media networks and governments, so I choose to be more low key now in my views sharing online.
Hi Medium, I love you. Please be good to me.
If I considered Telegram a social media, I’d say I was still active on it until March 2023 and had several channels of my own on it but they’re all inactive now. If I were to loose access to my accounts there I’d also loose access to my (closed to public) channels, groups and all the content there because I don’t have access to any of the phone numbers I registered my telegram account with. Also, it is hard to not keep in mind that anyone who will take over that phone number in the future and decides to get on Telegram, will have access to all my private channels, chats and direct communications and that’s just the nature of that platform that we all have to be aware of: unless we are using only private chats on there we are not protected.
I dislike the energy of Discord, and avoid it — it feels like a gamers thing and I never enjoyed computer games and gamers culture and aesthetics. Thse people have saddest, most miserable lives in my POV.
I fully avoid TikTok because I don’t like being watched so closely and the nature of content there and the length of videos are not for me. I dislike short videos, unless they’re super aesthetic. My attention span is generally set for 20–30–40 minute videos, if they are shorter, they are shallow af and it hurts my soul.
I had a 5-month long love affair with Clubhouse because live voice is fun and felt new, scored a nice network size there because I’m GREAT with voice communications, but I lost access to the phone number that was connected to my account and didn’t bother to reach out to their team to restore access to my account with another phone number.
Generally, I do not trust any social media, web3 companies or other internet platforms that ask me for my phone number. It’s my personal thing, I won’t go there now.
I tried registering and using other social networks, including some web3 ones and didn’t feel like logging in on there more than twice and choosing not to continue to invest my energy in any of them at this time.
Oh yeah, LinkedIn? I have deactivated my account on there early 2023… I do not want people to stalk my career path and I want them to have the balls to ask questions about my background to me directly. Also, I want nothing to do with the corporate matrix world and people who are focusing on their careers like there’s no tomorrow and are so openly desperate about it. Content shared on there feels boring and not engaging, everything everyone does there is promoting themselves and their business. Old life, not interested.
Pinterest? Nope, too commercial, not much aesthetics, hard to find good stuff because it’s simply not there.
Did I forget anything?
I don’t use Twitch, done with live streaming vibes back in 2020.
Google Plus? I’m joking. That would be cute tho for Google to watch us even closer and own us so very deeply.
As a communications person, I have certain style of communications that requires lengthy text sharing — and neither of the above social media allows me to do that.
If I consider Medium as a social media that would be a preferred one for me at this time, duh. Substack is cute but the interaction I had with their customer support made me quit the platform. Mirror.xyz is frightening to me, I am not into saving my words on chain and then loosing keys to access that copy. (Yep, it already happened…)
Yeah sure Medium might not have that sexy visual nature that I sometimes miss from Instagram or our lovely “decentralized” social network I cofounded but I’m practicing visual communications silence these days as an experiment for myself. Before, I’d share up to 15 photos per post with my followers on Telegram channels and via my private groups and in DMs. That did not bring me to a happy place. Yet?
I do love visual and audio communications and I believe visuals, audio and videos are the future of our comms online. But for now here, you enjoy it while you can: LONG READS, coming from yours truly, Mars in Gemini.
Now the visual content I create is private and only accessible if we see each other IRL and If I really like you.
I always experiemnt and iterate, my background is in agile product/project management and all I do is shift my ways to better serve myself and my audience at any given moment. I tune in deeply to my audience and carefully process their collective and individual feedback and shift gears when time comes.
That’s all I wanted to share for now in terms of historical data points.
I’m not on socials because it’s not worth the energy investment for me and being on socials is not aligned with the communications strategy I am currently implementing for Balanced Humanity.
Here are some key reasons in no particular order:
- Algorithms suck life out of humans. Humans become more robotic to feed the algorithms to get more likes and followers by generating content that really sucks.
- All social media is basically a surveillance tool for governments
- My eyes, my head and my body hurts from spending so much time online in the past, so I’m minimizing it now
- Online life is sad as it’s causing an illusion that we are missing out on something that others are experiencing and that is not accessible to us at that moment, thus preventing us to enjoy our life in the present moment, being grateful for what we already have
- Social media is a tool to silently spy on people and it’s not cool, just creepy vibes
- I’ve overshared in 2020 on social networks. It’s natural to rebalance myself by extracting myself from all these public online activities and focus on my private, irl life
- I truly am not interested in observing other peoples lives or how they present it online, it feels like reading a gossip celebrity magazine and I’m no longer in that stage of my life where this is an enjoyable activity — if I want to find out how someone is doing I ask them directly to share thoughts, feelings, photos and videos with me. It’s that simple. If they’re not responding — it means I’m not meant to know. If I’ve lost touch with them — it’s how it should be.
- If I want to learn something new — I scout for a person who is well-educated in that topic and connect with them directly, even if it’s in an asynchronous manner. If one person is not responding, I find another one who’s also well-versed in that topic of interest. Good thing that I have built a powerful network of people around me who know the coolest people, so all I have to do is follow my intuition on whom to ask around. There’s always someone who knows someone.
- When people meet me irl and find out that I’m not on any socials they feel more magnetized to me and my public persona. It’s just the basic human nature.
Quick future vision note: nope, I don’t believe in the future of decentralized web3 social networks as of now. As someone who cofounded one, I’ve learned it’s too late for the next big thing to emerge at this point, the coolest people prefer to stay offline and yeah sure all things we build can be interoperable and data packpackable but I don’t buy into that story of the metaversal travels between networks. You know why? Because I cannot trust that I’ll be able to keep that seed phrase / private key safe enough, whatever else we make up to protect our digital identity, it is still gonna be hackable. Things get lost, leaked, stolen — that’s just the nature of our reality. By the time next big social network raises or a true interoperability of existing ones become a reality I believe I’ll be good with the communications strategy I was able to implement offline. I am honestly good with it now, just nice to share with you my observations on here for transparency purposes.
I do not need the internet number 1, 2 or 3 to be connected with the world. And the world to be connected on these technocratic-driven platforms is not the world I’m interested to be engaged in at all to be honest
Even at this time, humans I respect the most are out of reach online. They focus on their irl lives, building their grassroots work, not engaging in digital communications / or dressing up their manufactured metaverse persona. They’re not playing games. They are more than fine offline, trust me.
At some point, I see our realities splitting quite dramatically. Those who choose an offline life will stay solely offline. Those who choose to be engaged online will become an integral part of singularity. And maybe that’s how it should be — forking Humanity it is for the sake of survival of our species.
I’ve already uploaded enough of my consciousness online to live on as long as the Internet and digital technologies exist. Thanks to the social media platforms mentioned above + texts I share on here. It all gives out plenty of clues on who Nataliya dot ai is.
I am very curious to see my life as it develops primarily offline — with some digital updates here and there, depending on how I feel and the stage of life I’m at.
Currently, I have zero trust that the Internet is a healthy and safe space for us, humans. Social networks being the core energy drain for the most.
I choose to be primarily out of here to focus on building my balanced real life, my new country and the people who are becoming part of it, and preparing to gift safe and harmonious lives to my children.