Hello and welcome to my blog space here at Ferny Ceramics. Before I get into posts about my journey into and through ceramics, I wanted to just start by talking about social media, and specifically leaving social media, because that is exactly WHY I am blogging again.
I have been on social media since the MySpace days. When Facebook began allowing the public to join, I ditched MySpace and made the move to Facebook. I have tried, over the years, various platforms. I have a LinkedIn account but I never really use it. I tried Twitter but never could quite get the hang of it. But the social media (SM) platform that has had the majority of my time and attention, and caused me the most anxiety over the years, has been Instagram.
To be fair, the Instagram induced anxiety is mostly self-inflicted FOMO (fear of missing out). To be realistic, Instagram and most social media apps are designed to create that constant sense of anxiety and FOMO.
My maladaptive use of SM tends to run in cycles, and I believe it is directly linked to cyclical impulsive spending as well... maybe we'll get into the financial part of things on another day though.
I took a year off social media a couple years ago and it went really well. I had withdrawals early on, but found I was less anxious overall, and my quality of life seemed to improve.
And then I thought to myself "hey, self, you've done so well being off social media, maybe we can get back on, and really "curate" our feed so it is only inspirational, and only use it to share photos and videos of my artwork as a way to take advantage of the platform for my own purpose."
And then it all went to shit. I dabbled in Instagram, then I added back in Facebook (marketplace, you devil), and then TikTok.
And you know what? It's not going so well. I'm scrolling more and making less art these days. To be fair, as of today, I have hit my 10-week wall at University, the days are getting noticeable shorter, and I keep forgetting to take my ADHD medication because my psychiatrist is worried I'll become desensitized to it if I take it daily, so I keep forgetting to take it when I really need it because it can't ever become a habit if I don't do it consistently, thanks to my AHHHHDHD: cue the maladaptive scrolling as a way to disassociate from a reality I really am having trouble coping with at the moment.
I tried putting curbs to my social media use by using timers, but those are easy to ignore or turn off when I'm the one setting the passwords for them in the first place.
The Decision to Disconnect
SO, with all that being said, a few weeks ago I was in my weekly group therapy support session, and made the commitment out loud to myself and the group that November first I was going to leave SM.
I have been listening to a podcast called Off the Grid which is not about leaving society behind and moving in to a yurt in the woods (been there, done that once already), but leaving the social media grid behind and still having a thriving creative arts business. The podcast is very inspiring, there are interviews with people that have also left social media, the host talks a lot about her journey leaving SM, and she provides downloadable links to an entire "Leaving Social Media Toolkit" that I have found very useful.
I know that I Amy be risking less growth with my art by not sharing it with social media, but between the rise of AI art thieves, toxic positivity, FOMO, and obsession of follower analytics that never quite seem to turn into sales, I think my mental health, and ultimately my art, will be better off.
The Unplugging Process
Amelia Hruby at Off The Grid strongly suggests not ghosting your social media followers. If I had not downloaded her Leaving Social Media Toolkit, I would most likely have just deactivated my account and moved on with life. But because of the great advice she gives, I made a 9-post grid specifically for Instagram with links and information about all the wonderful things I will be doing here at Ferny Ceramics with a fraction of the time I spent mindlessly scrolling reels and posts.
It took a little sleuthing to figure out how to make that silly grid, but I am glad that I did it. It gave me a chance to really feel out what I am working towards here.
The Immediate Aftermath
After posting my grid this morning, I had such a sense of relief right away. I am hoping that as time goes on, I can get away from feeling like I have to take a million pictures of my life in the hopes of getting just the *right* one to post.
People really don't need to see a highlight reel of my life. I am a fairly boring person most of the time. I did mention in that grid that if anyone wants to let me know big or exciting things happening in their life that they can send me an email or text (if we're close like that), and surprisingly, someone (Hi Samuel!) reached out fairly soon after that asking where to find the blog. This blog. The one I am working on right now.
I maybe put the cart before the horse by posting I was leaving SM before getting the first blog post out, but that is okay. I am trying to learn that I can do "good enough" work and get it out into the world rather than trying to get it perfect and never finishing.
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Leaving social media is not going to be right for everyone. In fact I think for a lot of people that day may never come. I have learned a lot over the years, I have connected with a lot of new and interesting people. But if I had to way the cost vs the benefit to my own mental and emotional well-being, I would have to say I am going to be better off focusing my attention on the things that feed my spirit, rather than take away from it.
I am worried that I will miss out on things, but I really won't know what I am missing out on because I won't have experienced it in the first place. There are a few creators that I have sign up for newsletters or patreons because I want to support their work and get updates on the work they are putting out into the world. Overall, I may have FOMO once a while, but with as hectic as my life really is, I don't think its going to have as big of an impact on my life as I am worried it will.
So now that you have read this far, what are your thoughts? Have you left social media? If so, how did it go? Did you leave SM permanently, or just take a temporary break? Would you ever consider leaving SM if you are a regular user? I would love to hear from you, and hear how this story has impacted you.
Also, how did you find this website?
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