Soon, I began sharing extra about my life and posted photographs of my youngsters on my work Instagram – and inside six years, I’d collected nearly 15,000 followers. I was commissioned to jot down options and obtained a deal for a parenting guide, The Freelance Mum, off the again of my posts. But by the beginning of this year, I’d unfold myself too skinny, as I was on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube… It was overwhelming.
So, that evening, as I sat with my son, it hit me that an excessive amount of of my life was on show. I’d additionally turn out to be hooked on it, logging into the apps 50 occasions a day. I’d verify ‘likes’ whereas pushing the buggy and spend ages within the lavatory the place I wouldn’t be disturbed, manically writing Instagram posts.
Delirious with tiredness, I opened my LinkedIn profile and hit delete. Immediately, I felt lighter. Minutes later, I deleted my Facebook pages. Next, I tackled Instagram. I thought of deleting the complete account, however this felt impulsive, so I deleted posts one after the other – and, 5 hours later, I’d erased all 3,000 posts.
It was surprisingly nostalgic, like flicking by means of an previous picture album with footage of guide launches, household holidays, meals out. Yet, it additionally felt absurd that I’d shared a lot with strangers.
The subsequent afternoon, again dwelling from hospital, I took my seven-year-old daughter to a close-by meadow to sketch wild flowers. It was a fantastic day and I was having fun with her company. Automatically, I reached for my cellphone to share it on Instagram, then stopped myself. How many treasured moments like this had I lost?
Weeks on, I really feel calmer and extra current than I’ve been in years. I’ve met up with mates I hadn’t seen for over a year as a result of I’d been immersed in Instagram, one thing I discover shameful to confess. Much of the time I’d have wasted on social media I’ve spent within the backyard or studying. On vacation in Somerset, I felt in a position to give attention to the rolling hills, quite than pulling out my cellphone to snap them.
Sometimes, I fear that I’m sabotaging my career by eradicating myself from the web. What if I by no means get one other guide deal? But I remind myself that numerous different writers aren’t on social media. And it’s my writing I need to be specializing in, quite than the quantity of ‘likes’ I’ve had on an Instagram put up.
Today, my apps are nonetheless deleted from my cellphone. I could use Instagram extra within the autumn, however I’ll set higher boundaries and share far much less about my non-public life. For now, I’m directing my focus again to my household – and reminding myself that the issues that matter to me aren’t on a display screen.