I’m a Digital Age Entrepreneur and I Hate Social Media
Learning self-love through my personal social media journey
I’m a Millennial. Caught somewhere between the two drastic technologically-different generations. I remember dial-up internet where I would turn on the computer and connect to the internet with that dial tone everyone in their 30s remembers. Then I would go make a snack and come back, sit and stare at the screen, awaiting the moment I could connect to AIM (that’s AOL Instant Messenger for those unfamiliar).
I didn’t have a cellphone until I was 17 years old. My parents are very conventional and so I had to wait until I could pay for it myself. I bought a very durable Samsung flip phone but envied those Motorola RAZRs that gained popularity a short time later. (Just a little nostalgia for my fellow in-betweeners.)
I also have always been a private person. When I was six years old, I discovered that my two older brothers had read my Minnie Mouse diary. So naturally, my next investment was a diary with a lock on it. You can imagine the discomfort I often feel with social media encouraging the blasting of your personal life for the whole world to see.
I struggle with wanting to stay relevant and wanting to keep my personal life private. For the longest time I held out on getting a Facebook. It was finally my junior year in college (2008) when I conceded. My roommate was moving to New York and I wanted to keep in touch with him, so he clearly told me: “Get a Facebook.” So I did.
I would rarely post on it. I quickly learned that scrolling through the News Feed only brought drama and dissatisfaction and usually some self-loathing. I discovered that this guy I was dating was flirting with another girl through Facebook. That was when I made a decision to never look through the Facebook News Feed again. That was 2011. And I still stand strong in my resolve.
I rarely used Facebook. You can imagine the lack of appeal with only looking at my own personal page. I posted maybe monthly if not bi-monthly or even less frequently. However, I was fond of being tagged in pictures and watching my life through other people’s perspectives, especially when I lived in Italy and was traveling or performing in graduate school. Those pictures were my favorite. However, I was either afraid to post or just felt no desire. Probably a little bit of both. I didn’t want to subject myself to the emotional rollercoaster “likes” presents. Knowing my personality, I was too sensitive to the feedback at the time.
One day I decided it was finally time to get an Instagram. I was also a proud Instagram holdout. I finally got one in 2018. (I know, right?) I was meditating everyday for an hour and it came to me that this was the right move. I wanted to build up a business online and Instagram seemed the way to go.
There was a time when I would post everyday. I started a social media movement: #redefiningourbeautiful
It was centered around discovering the beauty within and redefining what the media tells us is beautiful. Frequently, I found myself posting uplifting messages to encourage other people to love themselves and to feel beautiful. And when I finally learned what and how to use Instastories, I was a madwoman.
But after the flurry of excitement and adrenaline of a newfound passion and toy, I became disillusioned. I realized that I was comparing myself to others and that all the energy I was using to keep up with this “personality” drained me of my energy in my everyday life. I was considerably less happy.
I’m too sensitive and empathic to not be affected by other people’s perceptions of me. I can feel myself drained when I put myself out there too much, or when a lot of people are thinking about me at once and pulling my energy. I also was giving too much of myself and not garnering “likes”. This all felt very superficial to me. I didn’t want to live my life based off of other people’s opinions and I didn’t want to feed into the system that produced that effect in me. Putting myself out there so vulnerably (which is what my social media platform was for) made me feel invaded and my privacy felt threatened. Especially as a young woman, this is very unsettling.
One night I couldn’t sleep. I blamed the coffee I had earlier in the day, although I think it was divine intervention leading me to the moment of truth. Was I going to continue on with my social media flooding: Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Periscope, Twitter, Snapchat, etc? Or was I going to tone it down?
I realized that I had extended myself too far. I was trying to do it all, per my research and suggestions of Gary Vaynerchuk, whom I admire greatly, but differ from. I idolized Gary and truly took all his advice to heart and pushed myself forward.
But then to my relief, and slight disappointment, I had the startling realization that while I am an entrepreneur and want to take advantage of the Digital Age, I’m also a private person. Always have been, probably always will be. I felt that putting myself out there on all these different channels was too intrusive for the lifestyle I wanted to lead.
So I made a transition to more of the written word (and found myself on Medium!). I still follow GaryVee and everything he does, but I have slowed down the sprint of broadcasting myself everywhere. I have taken in the essence of what he teaches and implemented it in a way that feels more comfortable and right to me.
Loving Myself in a Digital Age
Maybe I won’t be a social media icon. Actually, I really hope I’m not. But I do want to gain notoriety for my writing and for the theatre I create. I still use social media, but nowadays I prefer Twitter. I have future plans that will involve other social media outlets in different ways than presenting my face and my life. But for now, I am working on crushing it on Medium and with blogging. I may be an entrepreneur, but ultimately, I’m a human (for now). I need to honor my feelings and overall happiness (which is essentially what Gary teaches). For me, social media and technology are #2 and self-love is always #1.