Cutting down on social media time was much more difficult than I thought it would be. A few months ago I suspended my FaceBook account, tired of all the notifications beeping on my phone or flashing up on my screen. I have a UK phone and a Portuguese phone. That’s two lots of messages/Whatsapp/Telegram notifications to contend with. I had Facebook and 3 Instagram accounts; my own personal account, FiftySister and an account for my art. I have several email addresses which I monitor – receiving hundreds of messages per day. It was just too much noise all day every day and my brain was slowly frying, from the effort involved in constantly managing contact via so many apps on my phone.
I didn’t start my Instagram account to make money or to promote anything, I made it to hopefully inspire other women to enjoy ageing as much as I do and to embrace their silver hair sparkles. What started as a bit of fun, became a full time unpaid job. I was offered lots of promo and sponsored posts from a huge variety of companies, but I never accepted any paid content as it didn’t fit with the lifestyle I was promoting. For example, how can I promote products that aren’t vegan or cruelty free? Or products which can stop incontinence if I don’t have it? Or menopause creams and potions which are irrelevant for me as I take HRT. I got very frustrated watching women my age promoting products for wrinkles etc when it was clear they had botox or fillers. Nothing wrong with any cosmetic procedure of course, we are free to do with our bodies what we choose, but it’s unrealistic to expect the same results as someone who clearly has regular botox injections.
I also saw a lot of women jumping on the cruelty free beauty bandwagon, and then 2 minutes later sharing a photo of their roast leg of lamb or their ‘ethical’ leather jacket….how can a leather jacket be ethical? I doubt the cow willingly gave up their skin for that biker jacket. I am not a militant vegan. You are free to choose your own path in life and take what you want and need from the planet. I choose not to take a life to improve my own. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, once I became vegan, and I felt a physical difference in my body within a week or so. To be completely honest I was shocked how quickly a plant based diet changed everything about my body. But more on that another day…
Time spent on social media was time away from real people – ironic eh? It really should be renamed antisocial media. It also took time away from my creativity, which had been a great source of stress relief for me. Looking back, I’d stopped seeing people, let go of all my recreational activities and replaced it all with screen time and arguing with strangers. Social media is a drug that you just can’t wean yourself off easily.
Reels is the worst thief of time, or so I thought until I discovered TikTok. My plan with TikTok was to upload content already created for Reels and to just throw it on the TikTok feed and ignore comments and messages. But… of course that wasn’t the case. I uploaded about 8 videos and left them unattended. I checked again to find I have a few hundred followers. Weird given that I had zero interaction with the app. I decided (I have no idea why!) to upload another couple of videos specifically for TikTok and boom! Within 24 hours I have thousands of new followers. At this point I panicked and decided to suspend my account. If I can’t cope with Instagram followers, why the heck would I try to make my situation worse? I also temporarily suspended my Instagram account to give myself some breathing space. Within 1 day of not posting on Insta I have emails asking where I have gone. What to do…? I reinstated my Instagram account but at the moment I am not posting anything new. I don’t really want to delete all the content yet….but maybe that time will come. I think it’s impossible to wean myself completley off it as I enjoy the creativity of it. I really like editing videos!
Since stepping away from all social media and taking an extended break, I have picked up lots of my creative hobbies again. I made Bird a new collar using Para-chord which was really therapeutic and completely distracted me from all that is going on in the world. I started creating art using photos I have taken whilst out on my bike. You can see this on my new Instagram account @ginandbird (I’m just posting and not monitoring that account at all) and I’ve collected lots of shells and driftwood to make wall art. I design T shirts for my FiftySister store and I’ve also started designing digital art like screen savers/wallpaper (like the one above) based on my own need for something fun and colourful. So I’ve been very busy – oh and I’ve been building my house here, which is going very smoothly. Busy, busy, busy, just the way I like it.
I shall continue writing and sharing my thoughts here, with potentially YouTube videos in the future, but I still don’t know whether I will do this so please bear with me. I have to find a balance that gives me a platform to connect with like-minded women, which doesn’t steal so much of my time. If anyone has any suggestions about how I can achieve this, please get in touch. I am a very private person who loves taking photos, writing and making videos – I’m a complete contradiction.
Social media is great for finding ideas and seeking out like-minded people. But you will stir up a hornet’s nest if you voice an opinion. I lost 7k followers overnight when I posted a reel regarding my feelings about informed consent. The reel was taken down by Instagram and that’s when I decided that I couldn’t continue to invest time on a platform which is so biased and fragile. One mistake and you are shadow banned or worse still deleted for ever.
Thank you for continuing to follow along on my life journey here. I love writing about anything and everything, so be prepared for varied content. I hope you have a beautiful day.