A little over a year ago Wide Awake International and we, personally, left social media. At the time it felt like such a HUGE deal to me. I actually cried quite a few tears about it. I had so many fears about what would happen. Would everyone forget about us? Would we become, somehow, “irrelevant”? I worried what people would think of us and I even worried about money. I thought “How will people who might want to partner with us even know we exist?” But even with all those worries I just knew that leaving social media was the right thing for us. I even felt like it was what God was asking us to do. So after a year of fighting myself about it, in October of last year we left the platforms for good. (Technically our pages still exist, but I don’t know how to sign in to them and I don’t post new content. They’re just historical artifacts now 😉)
Annnnnd, I’m happy to report that we are still alive! We still exist- even without social media! 😂 I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Kinda.
When we first signed off I felt like I was somehow an outsider to the rest of the world. It just felt weird to not be connected in those spaces anymore and I wasn’t quite sure how to just “be”. Something funny would happen, or the boys would be looking especially precious and I would feel that tug to share them with the world. But then I would remember that there was no way for me to do that, so I would just take a picture and share it with Jed, or with our team instead. Or, I would just be in that moment and not share it with anyone.
Then, after several months of being out of those online spaces I started to forget that they even existed! I mean, obviously I still knew about them, but I was so detached that I forgot that other people, in fact most people, still were very much attached. I just didn’t think about Facebook or Instagram, and I guess that’s the space I’m still in now. Social media is just off my radar and I simply don’t think of it anymore. 🤷♀️ I decided I like that feeling.
Before we finally made the decision to take the nonprofit off of social media I searched high and low online for someone who had gone before us. I wanted to read about other people in the nonprofit world who went off of social media and I wanted to know how it was going for them. Actually, I wanted to hear that they were “better than ever!” without those tools. Ha! I didn’t really find much at all, much to my dismay. I did find some personal stories of people who went off social media and I found those helpful. So in case you are wondering how things are for me personally, I thought I’d write it out here, just in case any of you are contemplating taking the leap yourselves.
What I’ve learned in a year without social media:
1.I’m not lonely. After moving to Ukraine Facebook and Instagram were major players in my relationships with other people. I had so many connections all over the world and I was so afraid of losing those by leaving the platforms. I did lose many of those relationships. That’s the truth. There are people that I only knew through social media and many of those friendships have not translated to real life friendships. But that’s okay. The relationships right here in front of me, and the long-distance friendships I already had with loved ones far away are wonderful and fulfilling. I’m not lonely. I’m in-real-life surrounded by love. (Watch out. That might end up being it’s own blog post…)
2. I’m a better person without an audience. Okay, the fact that the social medias are called “platforms” has always rubbed me the wrong way. But sometimes I’d have a really hard day here, I’d post on social media, the audience would tell me how wonderful I was and how they were in awe of the amazing work we’re doing here and I’d feel a bit better- for a minute. Guys, that is so gross!!! What the heck? I’m disgusted by myself and I’m so glad I don’t even have that option anymore. The last thing I need to be doing is standing on a platform for everyone to see me and applaud me. I know myself. I know my weaknesses and failures and what I need is more humility, not more attention and more admirers. A life without social media helps keep my heart in the right place.
3. I’m happier when I can’t play the comparison game. Without social media I don’t see the highlights of everyone’s spectacular lives. I don’t see perfect moms and perfect houses. I don’t see “missed” opportunities for my kids. I don’t see recipes that require alllll the ingredients that I can’t buy here. I don’t see what I can’t have and I am 100% better off for it.
4. Wide Awake International is doing fine. The people who have loved this work and supported it with prayer, encouragement, and finances were there when we had the socials, and they have stuck with us since we moved off. I think less people are finding out about our work here, but we’re choosing to trust God on that one. A cool thing is that our base of monthly supporters has actually gone up 25% in this past year! God’s plans for us and our boys are perfect and He knows our needs. We don’t worry about tomorrow. (Or at least we try not to…😉) And to all you wonderful partners out there- we love you!!! Thank you for your trust, love, and support. We could not do this without you!
5. I’m more present and rooted here in Ukraine. This is a big one. Without social media my world became so much smaller. The world right in front of my face is so important and full. I don’t need to go searching for meaning in other places. I’m digging my roots deep, right here in my little village and it’s much easier to do that without the socials.
6. Books are wonderful. I already knew that before, but I have read so.many.books in this past year. It’s insane! It’s amazing how much reading you can do when you have nothing to scroll. 😂
7. My trust in God has grown in leaps and bounds. It’s a little embarrassing to admit how much faith I was putting into Instagram, Facebook, and my own skills in beating the algorithm. For realzzz. 🤦♀️ Like I said before, God knows our needs. He cares for this work more than we do. He will keep his promises. He loves Ukraine and her people and his father heart breaks over how many of them are locked away. He will see this work through. We do not need to be afraid and we do not have to put our energy into sharing this work in spaces that are unhealthy for our souls.
And on and on. Basically, my heart is at peace with the decision we made a year ago and I’m so thankful we pulled the plug. Also, I said it last year and I’ll say it again: I am not placing any judgement on anybody who’s participating in social media. The decision we made was our own. Who am I to judge your decisions? Nobody. 😊
So, what’s next? We’re researching, considering, and praying about using some other medium to engage more with the Wide Awake community. We have our weekly newsletters and this blog, but those are mostly one sided and don’t lend themselves to spontaneity. I do miss that about the socials. We’re thinking about a way to be more engaged that would avoid some of the Instagram Facebook pitfalls. We have some issues with those companies themselves and really don’t want to be in those spaces, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a space that is healthy for us. If we decide to launch out somewhere new we’ll make sure you all know.
Thanks for all your massive love and support over the years. Thanks for sticking with us, even when we did stuff that doesn’t make much sense to most people. We’re a bit nutty. You already knew that, right? 😜
Thank you Kim for this update. I too struggle with having a healthy balance between social media and my own reality. Having these social media outlets puts our attention on something “temporary.” I agree 100% with your decision and want to continue to be apart of Wide Awake however God provides. Your stories are always so full of the presence of God. Your perseverance in each day is admirable. Thank You Father for choosing Kim and Jed to help these precious souls!! May You Father continue to provide, in Jesus name, Amen.
Thank you so much for this wonderful note!! You encouraged me today. ❤️
I pulled the plug on FB last December, despite launching a new business that needed advertisement and interaction. (I have stayed in the living room, but that’s it; no FB friends, no political drama, no dopamine hits, nothing.) I thought I had been a good steward of my time on social media, but it took getting off of it to see how disconnected I was with real life around me and how addictive those social media interactions can be.
Like you, I would see a cute moment, think a profound thought, want to interact over tough questions, and wonder with whom I could share it (and how to say/display it). The way I interacted had been shaped by social media.
It was a tiny bit lonely at first, but then I turned around and found my family again. My husband, children, students (online academy) were just waiting for me to be there for them, to share those cute moments, profound thoughts, tough questions, real life.
My “friends” (some real, some situational, some not) are all gone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I still only have two IRL friends, but they live hours away and we have to use texts and emails and honest-to-goodness letters to communicate. We have to work harder and truly make the effort to communicate.
My world has shrunk since leaving FB, and it’s a good thing.
As for you finding a way to interact more with supporters, maybe you could try an alternative social media platform that does not use algorithms and that folks check on when they want to (no dopamine hits)? MeWe does have groups and never sends notifications. You don’t have to have “friends.” But…it is social media (although a much, much less addictive type). Or maybe you could try creating a forum? Or maybe just stick with the blog for another year or so; give yourself time to breathe and set down even more roots in Ukraine.
Whatever you do, know that we are here praying you on to further love and good deeds in our Lord Jesus. ❤️
I love that reply! Thank you for sharing. I also feel like my world has shrunk, in a good way, since leaving social media. I’m not sure we were created to have such huge worlds. I know I don’t thrive that way, at least. Sounds like we are on the same page. 🙂
I am so blessed by this post!
I made the same decision early this year.
It was actually harder than I expected and the truth is, it revealed to me areas of weakness I didn’t fully see in myself before.
I can relate to wanting peoples admiration and applause and it sickened me to see it too.
I still find myself every once in a while wanting to “share” something but now when I feel that, rather than just instantly posting something, I can contemplate – why do I w as by yo share this? What is the motivation? What does this reveal about my heart right now? What is a healthier alternative?
It’s been so freeing!!
I’m super proud of you and even as you’ve honestly shared your “whys” and insights, I see more of my own. Thank you!!
Somehow I missed this! Hi Robin! I’m glad you’ve found it freeing too. Looking into my motivations was ewwwww. Not pretty. Miss you! I got the bearclaw recipe from Carli so I think I’m gonna give them a try!