It’s been 650 days (and some change) since we quit social media.
A one week hiatus for an off-the-grid spring break trip turned into a year that turned into almost two years now. What happened in the weeks and months following the decision could fill a book. Suffice it to say, our lives were affected in such a jarring way, we knew we couldn’t go back. At least not yet.
Sometimes the one thing that will make us the most free, the most happy, is the thing we push hardest against. We humans are funky animals. We get used to certain patterns and behaviors, accept them as status quo, and begin to think those things are a need. As in, “I need social media in order to run a successful business,” or “I need social media in order to feel connected to my industry,” or “I need it in order to stay inspired.”
We are here to tell you that despite what the culture tells you, you do not need social media. You don’t need it to run a successful photography business and you don’t need it for anything else critical to a rich human existence. It may be convenient. It may be easy. It may even be fun sometimes. You may want it, but you don’t need it.
We all want things we don’t need. Our kids want fruit snacks before dinner (very badly), but that doesn’t mean they need them. They would argue they do need them. I would argue they are small, the dentist is expensive, and they don’t have much of a say until they can start helping with the bills. Just because we wanted to rely on social media for marketing and reach doesn’t mean we needed it. We told ourselves we did, but the past 650 days have proved that just wasn’t true. It took more from us than it gave, and kept us in a holding pattern of wasting time and doing things the same way as everybody else.
There’s a huge advantage to doing things differently. “Free your mind and the rest will follow…”, right? Freeing our minds has lead to new ways to create and dream, more connected relationships, clearer communication, and a much more genuine approach to our business. We aren’t trapped in the social media hamster wheel anymore. Those minutes (that add up to months) of scrolling are freed up to think on different ways to make, speak, and grow that others “don’t have time” to think about.
So what’s the point? What does this “free” life look like on the ground? We’re happy to say we are nearing our two year anniversary of no social media. The month we celebrate that, we will also be teaching a class here at DEFINE (stay tuned for the announcement!). As past teachers, we’re so honored to be a part of the faculty once again. This time, we’re embracing what we’ve learned in these 650 days and applying it to our work, our teaching, and creative lives to do things differently. It might not be normal. It won’t be what everybody else is doing, but we can promise you there’s nothing better than being free. We hope you’ll come join us.
– Jeremy and Ash | We Are The Parsons
(Please know we are always more than happy to talk about the social media fast – the long story that lead to it and the things that have come from it. Email us anytime if you want to chat.)
Our “What I Have to Say” Wednesday series features established photographers and artists with messages they just can’t keep inside. Authentically and honestly, our writers share words of wisdom to challenge, encourage, and inspire.