What would it feel like to not worry about how many “likes” your new photo just got? To not obsessively hit “refresh” after posting a new song, waiting to see if it’s getting the attention and praise you’d hoped.
What would it be like to not get a notification and instantly look at your phone? To do so while your partner or best friend is talking to you, and mid-sentence you cut them off as you grab your phone. What would it feel like to not constantly have that gnawing feeling of “I just need to check…”
A constant distraction and weight on your shoulders.
What would that be like?
The truth is, most of us have no idea. We’ve lived all our lives (or adult lives) in a world online. It can be very difficult to separate that from, you know, the real world. The one that exists outside our screens. That doesn’t require us to constantly crane our necks and wonder if people online like us.
And the truth is, it’s not healthy. And not just for all the reasons you probably already know—blue light, neck pain, disconnection from those around us, all of those are true. But what if I told you it’s actually not great for your career either? That in fact, all that time you think you’re spending on something to help your career, is actually hurting it.
It’s true. And there are major benefits to a social media detox. Such as…
You’ll gain perspective on what actually matters—and make time for it
One of the key benefits to come from a social media detox is that you’ll start to really gain perspective on what matters both in life and your music career, and make time for it. The thing is, when we’re on our phones non stop, trapped in the day to day of it, we really lose focus on what matters. We think that if we can just get to a certain amount of followers, comments, or likes, that it will mean something. The truth is, it really doesn’t. You could have 10k followers but if you’re not really connecting with any of them and no one is streaming your music or coming to your shows, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t amount to a successful career or personal fulfillment.
Remember hearing about the influencer who had millions of followers who needed to sell 36 t-shirts to have them printed, and couldn’t meet that? They could not sell 36 shirts. To over 2 million people.
Followers do not equal true fans.
Likes do not equal sales.
It’s just a fact.
So by distancing yourself from social media, you’re able to stop focusing on the things that don’t matter (likes, follows, reactions) and more on the things that will actually move your career forward. This can be practicing, marketing ideas, tour routing, building connections, etc.
You’ll become more creative
This brings me here. We are on our phones way too much. Social media or not, we are constantly using some kind of technology. In some ways, it can be a brilliant inspiration and in others, a huge hindrance.
Don’t get me wrong, technology has, can, and will continue to inspire a lot of amazing things in music and beyond. Yet, when we’re stuck in the same cycle of “post + obsessively check” we’re not really allowing ourselves the space or time to be creative.
When we step away for more than an hour at a time (ideally, a day, or several days) we’re able to reconnect with the real world, and get out there and actually ENGAGE with the world and people and life, and THAT is what inspires creativity, and great songs, and brilliant ideas. Not being stuck to your phone 24/7.
You’ll place more meaning on the small moments
Finally (but perhaps most importantly) you’re going to learn to appreciate the small moments so much more when you’re not wrapped up in the follower game. You’ll appreciate that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have 10,000 followers because 10 really loyal fans came up to you at a show and told you how much they loved your set.
You won’t mind that you didn’t break 1,000 streams on your first day, because someone sent you some really cool fan art and told you how much they loved your song, and that meant the world to you.
You’ll learn to truly appreciate what matters and reconnect with why you got into music in the first place.
If you like the idea of a social media detox, here are two ways you can do it:
The first is to set specific times you check social media OR that you don’t. For instance, this might mean knowing you only check once a day at noon for 30 minutes. This could mean after 5pm you stop checking for the night and don’t go on again until the next morning. This should also be AFTER you’ve done your morning routine (which should not include checking your phone).
Or, you could try deleting the apps on weekends or vacations. If you simply can’t control yourself and know you want to make a change, try this. I learned this one from an entrepreneur friend who simply deletes everything on Friday night and re-installs it Monday morning. Problem solved.
There’s so much to discover off our screens, and quite honestly, so much thriving your career can do offline. You’ve just gotta take that first step.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.