27 Comments

Thanks for sharing this, Tsh. So many of the same thoughts here.

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For sure! There's no easy, one-size-fits-all solution here.

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Sep 19, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Thank you for sharing your decision framework.

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You're welcome!

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I left Instagram over the summer and I found the freedom to do that in much the same way. I listed the positive and negative and found it was taking far more than it was giving. Glad to be able to support your work here!

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Glad to hear, Lisa! And thanks so much.

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Sep 19, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

This newsletter is a timely gut check for me. I deleted all of my socials about 6 years ago. Every couple of years, I dip my toes back into the waters and find that I STILL don't seem to be able to keep it in it's place and I pull the rip cord. I currently have Facebook as it's what our homeschool community uses to communicate social events. That along with also being apart of a paid fb community and utilizing marketplace are my other reasons for being there. I have literally zero "friends" in that space, which was an intentional choice but even that doesn't stop me from wasting my time and scrolling marketplace or the paid membership I'm apart of. I just don't know how much longer I want to be apart of it all. I want to light the match as well...

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I definitely understand the conundrum, Cassandra! There's no easy solution.

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I'm *this close* to shutting down my business Instagram and reading about how you made the decision was so helpful. Thank you!

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I'm glad to provide a peek into my window, Chloe!

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Sep 19, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Good 👏🏽 for 👏🏽 You 👏🏽

Thank you for all of your words and thoughts you shared that helped you to make this decision. I truly admire, ya.

Any suggestions for a short and sweet description to leave on a Facebook/IG page when leaving it active yet choosing to stay off it? I’m not on IG, but Facebook is so NOT mentally good for me. I’ve been off it for a bit, and that is much needed for me right now, for many of the same reasons you shared.

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Hmm... Everyone's mileage may vary, but I plan to have my IG bio say right away that I'm not actually there, then provide a link to a landing page of links where people can find me otherwise. My 'bio' on FB already says the same thing. Happy to hear others' ideas if they've done a similar move!

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Reason #10 nails it. All of it makes sense but that for me is the reason I left too. Two years ago it was a different platform, a different experience. I know change is unevitable but this change wasn't good.

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Agreed. And when I wrote the final sentence of that bullet point, it hit me squarely between the eyes how much this is basically about my mental health and overall well-being.

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Absolutely. Looking forward to exploring the new ways to connect, authentically, in ways that support well-being, not take away.

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Sep 19, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Thank you for giving us the gift of seeing your discernment process. This decision took time and intention, but the peace after appears well worth the investment.

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Thanks for saying so, Jennifer!

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Good for you, Tsh!! I got rid of IG in November of 2020, and I always feel like I must sound dramatic when I say that it changed my life. But it truly did. I had many of the same reasons as you, but it really boiled down to the fact that I did not want to look back on the years that my kids were little and feel deep regret for letting a stupid addiction steal my attention from the things that I actually care about: my family, reading, living in the moment in a bodily way, and my relationship with my Maker. All the guardrails I was constantly putting up, tweaking, pondering-- it eventually became pretty clear to me that I was wasting the precious commodities of my time and energy thinking about... an app. Anyway! I love what you wrote and I am excited for your new freedom. Loved hearing your process.

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You're spot-on, Kristin — in fact, writing this whole essay felt silly because it's ABOUT AN APP. And yet it shows plain as day how much it can commandeer our entire framework for interaction, community, work, leisure... I'm looking forward to more brain space!

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Sep 20, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Girl! It’s number 8 for me... I’m going to use this one for my own contemplation and prayer... I’ve said it once on here and I’ll say it again: you were one of the first people I read who spoke about how social media made you feel icky. I needed you to say that because for the first time I heard myself think... “me too, I thought I was the only one.”

As an expat I have a hard time quitting it... I genuinely do leave the app feeling better because of the friendships I have kept up with... but I keep wondering at the cost... has it caused me to not go as deep with relationships in Indonesia? To not go “all in” with people here. We plan on living here indefinitely and it’s already been 6 years..... all that to say, I’m contemplating pulling a Seth Haines come January and trying a 6 mo. hiatus to see how it effects me here- I also don’t want to because it feels scary- which may also be a red flag in a sense... All that to say, I appreciate your honesty on this space. Always leaves me reflecting.

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I *so* get that there's no easy answer here for many people, and your conundrum definitely sounds like a head scratcher (if I think back to my expat days and I had IG, I'd definitely be leery of just getting rid of it). Your plan sounds like a good one — maybe not even a full Seth Haines, but maybe just a month or two? And then revisit the whole idea? All this to say: I'm with you on the challenge of all this.

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Sep 20, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Hi Tsh! I appreciate you sharing your evolving thought process on this. 💜

I sometimes think back to that SLM meeting in 2011 or 2012 when you were encouraging us editors to sign up for IG and I was hesitant. I tend to go back and forth now about whether or not I should have done so then, as I’m sure my IG numbers would be much higher than they currently are. 🤷‍♀️ (I ended up joining in 2016 when I needed to use it for Give Your child the World promotion.)

As a fellow Enneagram four, I struggle with a lot of the same things that you mentioned in this piece. Sometimes I miss the interactions via comments that we had with readers back in the early days of blogging, and it feels like that now occurs on Instagram and Facebook instead.

I appreciate that dialogue (when it’s positive 😝) and being able to hear from those who are reading or engaging with my work. This is why I’m reluctant to get off completely…as well as the potential for book promotion and the desire from publishers to see those numbers rise. 😤

But sometimes I’m ready to blow the whole thing up 💥 I hate the focus on numbers above individuals, which is probably my biggest struggle.

I’d also love to hear how you’re navigating this with your teens? Jonathan finally joined Instagram at the age of 17 after many years of us talking about this issue, the addictive side of it, and what safeguards we could put in place for him to be able to enjoy it without getting caught up in all that.

So far it has gone well because of time limits that we’ve set of 15 minutes a day, except for Saturdays when he takes a break. I’d love to hear how you are navigating this with your growing tribe.

Much love to you all! I wish we could discuss this at the local coffee shop close to your house. ♥️🙏

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Hello, friend! Yeah, it's really difficult in our line of work, isn't it? No easy answers in the slightest, but I guess my decision has come from a place where I'm just so weary of social metrics being so important to the idea of whether one's writing is publishable, I feel convicted to be part of the change I want to see. You know?

And as far as parenting goes... Tate briefly had IG when she was 13 (for about 2-3 months), and it was so detrimental to her health that we made her get off and we IMMEDIATELY saw a net-positive. From then on, we decided our family rule is no social media at all until you're 18. We also don't allow screens behind closed doors, and Finn (our youngest) won't get a phone until he absolutely "needs it" (I'm thinking 16?). I wish we delayed getting Tate and Reed phones until they were that age.

Sounds like a solid plan you have with Jonathan! It's *such* a challenge to parent adolescents these days, isn't it?

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Sep 21, 2022Liked by Tsh Oxenreider

Totally get it, and thank you for verbalizing what I think a lot of us were already subconsciously thinking regarding Instagram and FB.

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You're welcome!

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I subscribed to your Substack just to be able to read this. ❤️ I came to this exact conclusion about all social media in 2021 after returning from a 1-year hiatus. (Journal entry pro/con list and all!) It’s like you climbed into my brain and wrote it all out.

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Thank you so much, Sandy! It's nice to find like-minded folks who can nod in agreement, eh?

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