Updated: Sep 24
A couple of weeks ago, I realized that social media is, personally speaking, not my cup of tea. My cup of tea is warm, and cozy, preferably ginger lemon, and makes me feel good.
Once upon a time, I tried showcasing my artwork on one account, and it took time to set up my camera at just the right angle, record, edit, come up with more content, and more things to create. I also had to draw at the right time of the day so my home was flooded with light to ensure a quality video. All of this sucked the joy out of illustrating. It also seemed quite (for lack of a better word) dumb waiting around for people to "like" my artwork—It was on par with a child seeking praise for coloring in the lines. None of it resonated with me. I closed that account and stayed off for quite some time, until recently.
It also seemed quite (for lack of a better word) dumb waiting around for people to "like" my artwork—It was on par with a child seeking praise for coloring in the lines.
I attempted to share my skincare knowledge. I even made super cute videos with types of skincare products I use, discussing ways to help keep your skin clear, and I also sprinkled in some nutrition info to co-mingle two topics I know a lot about. There was a plan—I would schedule time to post and create content. I thought I was doing okay for a while until I wasn't. I noticed every waking moment was about content creation. I pulled away from prayers, and journaling, and started procrastinating with other responsibilities. My complete focus was now on posting content.
As a bonus, social media elicited habitual behavior that turned me into a finger-scrolling zombie. After the first few funny reels, I couldn't stop, and before I knew it hours passed me by! Also, does anyone else sweat if they don't check their phone every five minutes? It became a reflex to reach for my phone. I needed to pop back on Instagram to edit, post, check, scroll, heart, laugh, and snort derisively. I wasn't even getting paid for it! Is there any other way to become a content creator without falling down a rabbit hole? I’m genuinely asking.
Thank God this stint as a would be influencer lasted a couple of weeks—I came to my senses quickly. This could easily become an addiction, and if there is one thing I have fought hard to rise above throughout my life, it's addictive behavior. Whenever I would notice the slightest indication of addictive patterns in my life, I'd nip it in the bud. Social media was the final boss of dopaminergic activities for me.
For the longest time, I was told by others, "You need a social media presence for your artwork", "it's not a big deal", "just post when you want and log off the rest of the time", Really, Jan? You sure about that? Listen, I know Jan means well—She probably has a private account where she posts photos of her family, and doesn't check her phone every 6 seconds. I, on the other hand, operate on the level of "Extra"—I want to put information into the world and help people, but having to do it all on social media while maintaining a full-time job, and a balanced lifestyle was just overwhelming.
I want to put information into the world and help people, but having to do it all on social media while maintaining a full-time job, and a balanced lifestyle was just overwhelming.
So I quit and didn't feel an ounce of the FOMO I hear so much about. I was very excited to be rid of it for good. I returned to prayer and meditation, where I was encouraged to start writing. I've always preferred reading articles and books to the sensory overload of images on my smartphone, so I began reading again. Journaling has also become a healthy habit I've gotten back into, and exercise goes without saying—since I ended the late-night reel editing, I started going to bed earlier and waking up around 6 a.m. to get an early morning gym session in. Drawing and painting are part of my daily ritual as well and I've since been expanding on the work I produce for this site.
Overall, social media wasn't about connecting or approval for me—I was seeking a place for my work and interests to live, and I realized that place is in the written word and this website. I'm being encouraged to create my own "social media" and allow it to transform how it wants to and gain a following in its own time.
Perhaps if I had the time and resources, I would hire a team of tech wizards to help me with this social media endeavor...Then I would just have to show up and speak. I'm not dismissing that vision, but for now, NOT overwhelming myself with more than I can handle might be the key to doing what I love—Traditionally creating inspiring content while maintaining a balanced lifestyle.
What are your thoughts about social media? Have you had a different experience? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Michelle Taormina is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator. She has worked in Publishing since graduating from the School of Visual Arts and has never looked back. These days you can find her at an Education company designing books and digital assets for Grades K-6. With all her free time not scrolling through Instagram, she moonlights as a fitness instructor, is working on receiving a certification in nutrition while continuing to expand on her artistic skills. She also loves her dog and cat but desperately wants a chameleon.
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