When it’s time to take a good hard look at our relationship with social media, the question inevitably comes up: If I quit Facebook, will I ruin what I’ve built? Will I lose customers, friends, and a following? Will I no longer be heard, or valuable, or relevant? If I quit Facebook will I destroy my voice?
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with clients about social media, marketing, community, and communication. Many voice users and voice-related business owners use Facebook, specifically, as the place that they congregate, share ideas, share their offers, and share… well… their voice.
There’s this push-pull-love-hate relationship we have with social media.. or rather, this push-pull-love-hate relationship with ourselves and our co-dependent tendencies with it. We desperately want to be in the know. To be seen. And to find our ideal clients. We observe these spaces as educational, and they absolutely can be – For example The SpeakEasy Cooperative uses Facebook as one of its connection points.
Still, there’s this deeply unsettling reality of our consumption of highlight-reel-meets-mic-drop-memes-meets-finding-out-someone-you-love-posts-something-that-mortifies-you.
If you have a healthy and well-balanced relationship with social media, I commend you! Honestly, I’m a little envious, too. This particular write-up may not be for you. This write up is for those of us who want to have a more empowered relationship with our socials.
How I Manage and Where I’ve Been Destroying
Many of you are like me. We’ve already read Cal Newports Digital Minimalism, or seen Netflix’s The Social Dilemma. We’ve spent the last several months doomscrolling and unfollowing and unfriending.
And the reacting, Oh! the reacting – the quick emotional panic burst or happiness burst when we read a post that either confirms our bias or confronts our assumptions.
We all know about all of that. Continuing to talk about the “evils of social media” seems as old news as yesterdays’ posts on mocktails and some horrible sheet music stamp version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
Now, to be kind to myself, in all honesty, I have a pretty good social media hygiene routine. Here is a bit of it (steal it!):
- All notifications for all social medias are turned off
- Social Media has work/networking time blocked in my calendar
- Social Media has fun/me time blocked in my calendar
- I have time limits set on the apps in my iPhone
- When on a break, on vacation/holiday, or celebrating holidays I remove apps from my phone or hide them in a difficult-to-access folder on the very last page of apps
- On the computer, I have bookmarks to the direct places on the platforms that I want to visit
- See below – here is a little bit of my “bookmark bar” – These are some of the social media places I visit regularly. I simply hit the bookmark and go directly to those URL’s, rather than heading to the home page and moving from there.
I haven’t been having a “destroy my voice” time with what I already know about social media, the internet, and how its algorithms show me a very calculated and intentional feed based on my own activity. I am well aware that the experience I have on social media is essentially an extension of what I’ve asked it to be for me. If I’ve engaged with inflammatory info, heavily biased news sources, or asked a question about brassieres… well, that’s what I will see. !!!!!!!!!DEAR GOD THERE ARE SO MANY BRA COMPANIES!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have made friends. Real ones.
No, where I have a hard time is grappling with the question “Where will our voices live?” if we are not actively using social media to share our voices? And how do we create some systems around our edited-by-the-Facebook-gods voices being heard, when we know that the algorithm is showing only a quarter of our hearts to those who are our friends, followers, and clients?
My thoughts have swirled around, perhaps ironically for a voice specialist, what it truly means to wield a voice.
And how do I best create offers that without-a-doubt become a co-conspirator of others to discover, amplify, and wield their voices as well?
If I quit Facebook will I destroy my voice?
I’d like to share with you the thing that I’ve spent the last few months wrestling with. I wonder if you’ve felt the same.
Where Will My Voice Live?
Where it has always lived. Inside of me. In my head, my heart, and my relationships. It lives in my texting with my team, my laughing with my kiddos, and my weekly Zoom meeting with the VIP Room clients, and yes, even on FB, with the amazing members of SECO.
My voice has always been mine. And yours has always been yours. Somehow we’ve been wooed into a space where we forget that our voices are so much more intimate than our LinkedIn posts.
Before the interwebs and the 24-hour news cycle and social media, our voices lived within the context of open space.
We would share our public voices in a much slower way – with letters, newspaper articles, scholarly papers, books, public speeches.
We would share our private voices in a much more intimate way – with a phone call, a dinner table, or a lunch date.
When the digital communication revolution began (I’d venture with broadcast radio, but I’d need to research that), we began to share our voices in a much more immediate way. This immediacy began to feel like intimacy – and that is where I see myself wanting to recalibrate.
When we shared our voices in a slow and intimate way, we were heard within context… without the messages of a thousand other voices inserting thoughts into our minds as we engaged a single voice. Our focus was on the message right in front of us.
With this in mind, I’ve asked myself where I can create a space for digital conversation that behaves a little more like our pre-social media days, knowing that our literal brains are different now – and that trying to go back is impossible – that ship has sailed a long time ago.
Using today’s tools… where can we share in a more slow and intimate conversational manner? A manner where one will stop and think before responding? Where a message is sent and engaged with the way it would be if we were face to face? Where can we bring back our appropriate filters?
I’ve got a couple of ideas and will be trying them out over the next several months to see how they work. I wonder if you would consider joining me!
- Blogs. I know, they are saying blogs are dead. I don’t mind that. My hope is that as we read and write blogs for one another, again, we get the opportunity to be focused on each others voice, soley, for those moments in time, and through the comment section, engage one another’s thoughts.
- Emailing our lists. In the past, many of us have shied away from writing too much, too foten, to our lists. I don’t know about you, but whenever I get a genuine and expressive email from someone whose list I am on, I am transported into a conversation with only them – even if I am one of a list of 10K – because I am not distracted by all the other voices until I *choose* to be.
- Closed Social Outlets. More and more companies are using closed social spaces. For now, my company uses Slack as that “place to talk away from the noise”. There are several other places too. Mighty Networks is a great example, and one I really like!
- Journaling. (video/write/voice recording/etc.) There is a fine line between free speech and immediate speech. Free speech and its definition in today’s climate is a topic that is coming up more and more, as it should. It is not free speech to call out “fire!” in a crowded theater. Seems like we have a lot of “fire in a crowded theater” type headlines, memes, gifs, etc. I’m curious to discover if we are less prone to the emotions these stir up if we journal through our fears, anger, opinions, passions, etc before we express them on the internet.
Quitting isn’t the answer. Mindfulness is.
For me, at least. I’ve asked the question “if I quit Facebook will I destroy my voice?” and I think the answer is yes and no. If I continue to use it the way I have in the past, the answer is yes. If I change the way I am using it, the answer is no way – in fact, I *think* I will get my voice back.
I don’t plan on going anywhere away from social media outlets. For me, the benefits still outweigh the ills. I actually enjoy a gif party, asking questions and getting funny answers, and opportunities to share joys and celebrations. I will continue to use social media. And that is just it: I will use it, it will not use me, as much as I can help it.
I am committed to being even more mindful of my social media usage.
This means I am committing to my own self-awareness and knowledge around how these platforms work. I am commiting to leveraging the tool, while the tool capitalizes on me.
Everything we see is a mirror of our online activity. What we get out is what we have put in. If I don’t like what I see – I need to look at myself, first. And then I can throw some shady side-eye at the algorithms, knowing they got me again. Asshats.
Like many of the folks I work with, I choose social media as a business outlet, primarily. Yet, we all have personal relationships with much of our connection and friends list.
Mindfulness around this push-pull-love-hate looks like this: Actively and purposefully remembering that while we are using each platform, we are accepting that our feed is a representation of what we are prone to respond to.
We can remain both engaged and full of grace for what we see. We choose to cast aside low-grade awareness. We fully accept that we are the product, not the customer, of these platforms.
What this brings me is a renewed freedom!
Freedom to bring my voice into a more intimate and slow space, while also sharing what I’ve created through the vehicle of social media.
This mindfulness allows me to gather back my voice from the places it’s been recklessly scattered, into a few central locations – I get to go from the megaphone on the street corner to a cabaret night with a delightful after party.
The Grand Experiment – Quitting the way I Facebook
Over the next season, I’ll be shifting my use of social media from a place of expressing my thoughts to a place of informing people I’ve expressed my thoughts elsewhere.
I’m going to try to write more newsletters (you can sign up here – where the first sequence is exploring the idea of success), do more lives that wind up on my blog, write more blogs in general, and create more content for us to gather around, intentionally.
I’m curious to see how this changes my business.
I’m curious to see how this changes my writing, my speaking, and my intentions.
I’m curious to see how much freedom I really gain back, or if I destroy my voice.
Something tells me that by listening to my inner-contemplative voice and allowing that to align with my outer-expressive voice, everything is gonna be just fine.
And that the question “if I quit Facebook will I destroy my voice?” will answer itself for me.