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What a week back on Instagram revealed

8.22.2023 • 3 Comments

In February of 2021, I decided to quit Instagram. I was one of those who never thought they could do it. It felt too much a part of me and obviously, we relied on it for business. I can genuinely say I was only able to do it because God was calling me to step away. I don’t think it’s a conviction for everyone but for me, it was clear and I never looked back. 

During our yearly launch, I wanted to come back on Instagram DMs and share videos because it truly is like our Superbowl and I wanted to celebrate with y’all too! And y’all have no idea how energizing it is to share it with y’all.

Coming back, even for a short time, was more jarring than I expected and I thought I’d share what I learned from being back on Instagram. This feels incredibly vulnerable to open up about but I do think it’s worth sharing. So many of you mentioned how encouraging my previous post sharing about quitting and this one giving an update were so here goes: 

1. It was really encouraging to have so many interactions with excited journal users.

I was blessed to have such sweet conversations in DMs and getting to know the individual impact it had on y’all is so incredibly motivating to continue. Being an online shop means I don’t have regular touch points with our audience and we haven’t done a big in-person event since pre-Covid so these conversations fueled me so much and were my favorite part of being back on! I am trying to figure out how to experience this more often without getting back on social media but I’m all ears if you have any ideas! YOU are what I miss about Instagram

2. I learned a lot of fun things from accounts or got updates on people I have missed.

Some parts felt like old Instagram, accounts like @shelovesbible were sweet reminders pointing me to the word. I enjoyed my friend @meredythfletcher’s encouragement with slow cooking and her outlook on life with two young kids. Instagram is not a complete waste. And that’s one thing that makes it feel so enticing!

3. I was more anxious as I was faced with the tragedies of the whole world at my fingertips.

It’s funny because I still see the news all the time. I even look at the dumpster fire that is Twitter (X…whatever). But there’s something more emotion-driven on Instagram. The reel music? Maybe? The fact that it’s real people and not just data? Possibly? I’m not sure. All I know is that I could sense it even as it was happening. Literally, I noticed my heart beating faster within 30 seconds of getting on the app! 

4. I think I have more people-pleasing in me than I thought.

I found myself responding to very sensitive or serious messages while my girls were calling me to “come see” (which is apparently is just a Cajun phrase). And though I needed to be there for them, I simply couldn’t because I worried someone would think I didn’t care. They have been so patient with my work hours preparing for launch and when I continue to choose my computer or phone over them, I know it doesn’t go unnoticed. I remember hearing it years ago, I don’t want my child’s memory of me when they are younger to be on my phone. Ouch! It turns out, faced with real people on social media is a hard place for me to set boundaries. 

5. Being off social media has directly contributed to my growth in real-life community.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this correlation till this week. But over the last 2 years, I’ve been getting more extraverted! I’ve been the one to ask Tyler if he wants to plan something with friends. I’ve been enjoying people more. I’ve been making new friends! And I know those all sound like normal people things, but for so long, I felt like I didn’t have the capacity for people because it felt like my people tank was full just after watching someone else’s stories. I cannot tell you how many times I’d swipe away a text from a friend to continue watching someone I didn’t know’s stories. If you are longing for community but it feels like a burden, taking a break from social media might be the push we need into some life-giving friendships.

6. I miss the old Insta where people shared encouraging stories and not everything felt like an ad.

I feel 100 years old saying that, but remember it? Fuzzy pics of your morning quiet time and what you learned that day? Actually taking time to engage with a post instead of what feels like a race to keep scrolling.  Trust me, it wasn’t perfect, but it honestly felt like as real a connection as you could make online. In all seriousness, we are still trying to figure out how to use Instagram for VMP intentionally, and having an owner who’s confused herself by it doesn’t really help. 

7. I’m a better business owner off social media.

I have never felt so insecure about what to do as a business owner as when I was hopping on Instagram and seeing all the tips and business advice. Reels hacks. Social media how to’s. Honestly, seeing other companies in similar spaces. Should we be doing that? I have thankfully felt so far removed from the comparison game so coming back gave me whiplash. I’ve felt really confident as a business owner making decisions because I’m more dependent on the Lord. And the truth is, even in moments when I’m not confident, I have to run so fast to Him, I don’t experience that same insecurity that mining advice on Instagram made me feel. 

8. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Cal Newport makes the point in Deep Work or Digital Minimalism that we aren’t trying to decide whether an app has benefits. Anything can have some benefits. I’ve already shared several above. And can I just add? Leaving Instagram, depending on your business, can 100% affect sales. That’s kinda important right? I remember having a conversation with my life coach, Diana about how we weren’t growing as much as I had hoped at the time. And we looked at the numbers and held it up to whether it was worth the difference to not have to be on social media everyday and it absolutely was. It’s not that we don’t care about growing VMP. We’re actively trying to figure that out! But the cost is just so great to be on Instagram. For me, it costs:

  • Peace and my mental sanity. 
  • Decision-making ability. 
  • Patience with my girls.
  • Presence with my girls and Tyler. 
  • Bandwidth for the struggles of friends. 
  • More intentional community.

9. Where do we go from here?

With all these realizations, we’re trying to figure out how to connect with y’all in real ways not just on Instagram. Should we be creating content for (i.e. pushing you to) an app that I’ve decided isn’t worth it for myself? But if this is where our community is, or people we want to reach about prayer are hanging out, shouldn’t we be there? How do we grow VMP (something I feel the Lord calling us to do) without the traditional methods? What content do you need most? And what forms work best for you? 

We’d seriously love to hear from you! We will be praying about this a lot too of course but we have seen God speak to us through you guys time and time again as well! 

And until we figure things out, just know our best content is going to be in our weekly email, The Pep Talk and The Monthly Digest. The Pep Talk, a play on my own college newspaper, The Tech Talk, is weekly encouragement for your prayer life. It includes thoughts to motivate, tips and a resource or two to encourage you to pray. If you’ve ordered one of our prayer journals and are worried you won’t stick with it, this weekly reminder is a great way to not let life get too busy to open your journal. The Monthly Digest is our new name for our Monthly Peptalk. It’s more of a curated list of things I’m loving that month from articles, products, things I’m trying and a list of the books I’m currently reading. 

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And if you haven’t pre-ordered your prayer journal for 2024, now is the best time!

What I learned from 14 days back on Instagram by Valerie Woerner, social media detox, Instagram detox, off social media, small business, business owner on social media, small business socials

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Comments (6)

This was such an encouragement to read! I have been off of Instagram for 4 years now and I was surprised I haven't missed it more. I loved your point about growing in your real-life community. I have absolutely noticed an improvement in my family's intentionality in connecting with others. We ask more questions and have better conversation with others because we don't know what's going on in their lives unless we spend time with them and have conversation! Thank you for writing this :). Merry Christmas!

I don't think we realize how affected our real life relationships are by social media, so glad you had this revelation! Appreciate you friend 🙂 and hope you have a great holiday season!

This is such encouragement! I’ve started paying attention to how many items in my feed aren’t my people, but ads. It’s really sad. I think I’d rather call or text my people to have contact instead of sifting through sellers to find them. I think I’m leaving Instagram. Phone calls, visits and emails seem better! Thanks for sharing!!

It's so true! I didn't have any ads 2 1/2 years ago so that was definitely jarring too! Glad you mentioned it and good luck as you get off Insta!

I was inspired by the thought of quitting Instagram (and Facebook), and I completely deleted both in March 2022. It was an amazing decision, and I don’t miss it!
I love the emails! How to grow VMP through email? I would love an email with a download to forward to our email list! (We are missionaries & have an email list of 300+ people.) If there was a great sample to pass along, I think it is a way to spread the word to people I know are already praying!

Yay! That is awesome and I love hearing others say "I don't miss it!" It felt impossible to say that at one point but grateful for the freedom from it! And wow! That's a great idea! I'll pass that info on to the team!