The stupidest thing I’ve done

This right here is probably the stupidest thing I’ve done in the last couple of years.

I’ve been now almost ten months clean from social media and I can honestly say I regret every second I spent on social media ever. I regret every second I spent taking and posting pictures of my dog instead of having been playing with her.

Why did I start?

Because of the ego, because I thought I could make money from it and because after living in China for several years and without access to any social media, it was like a shiny object I needed to play with just because it was shiny, exciting and new.

Why did I quit?

Basically, because I learned a lot about marketing, but in order to understand why I needed to learn about marketing, we need to backtrack a bit.

So, why did I need to learn about marketing?

If you’ve been following my blog or you know me in real life, you may know I suffer from a rare, inherited genetic eye disorder called retinitis pigmentosa. What you may not know is that bright lights, be it natural or artificial cause a painful burning sensation in my eyes and the wind dries them and irritates them and makes the burning worse to the point it’s actually painful to go outside. I’m fine with that as there’s literally nothing I’m interested in out there, but there’s also the little fact that I still need to work to pay for rent and food, so I needed to come up with ideas about how to make money without having my eyes burnt by the brightness outside, and so it was that I became an entrepreneur and had to learn about marketing.

Why did I quit after learning about marketing?

Among all the marketing courses I took, I learned that the number one rule of building a brand, a community or an audience is that you have to OWN your audience and your content. The moment you sign up for social media you start working for them and providing free content for their platform, and there’s always a chance that they will close or ban your accounts for whatever reason or no reason at all. Sometimes it’s enough for one competitor to report you for them to close your account and then all your hard work is gone.

There are some exceptions on some social media where there’s an interchange, you create content for them and in exchange, they send you traffic or promote your content to a large audience. So as I kept learning more about social media, I learned that Reddit, Pinterest, and Youtube are the ones that offer that interchange for your content and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the ones that don’t.

So, even though I’m still not free from social media because I still work with websites and need to promote content and my livelihood literally depends on that. I learned to use them for my benefit and not providing content when I see a return of investment for the time I spend there.

Will I ever be really 100% free from social media?

For sure, when I die I will finally be free. When I die of a heart attack tomorrow at 2.36 in the afternoon. And if I don’t die, then I will be free when I make enough money to quit the internet altogether. I already calculated how much I will need to retire and quit the internet and it’s a little bit over 100k USD, and at the rate I’m going I will probably be able to retire in about never, because I’m actually losing money with all of my projects every day, and still covering my costs with the money I saved in China.

What would I do when I’m free from social media?

I also thought about that a lot, how would my life change if I were to be able to quit my job today and never needed to work again and the answer is that about 80% of my life will remain the same. I spend about 20% of my day doing things that generate some sort of income and the other 80% is spent doing things that don’t generate any. I read about an hour a day, practice violin for one hour, sleep eight hours, walk with my dog two hours, do house-work, write, exercise, and those are things you can’t outsource. I wouldn’t pay someone to cook, clean, go shopping or walk my dog, those are things I actually enjoy doing. So what would I do with that extra 20% of time if I had it, and the answer is simple; I will spend it doing more of the things I like, those are learning, reading and writing.

Are there any advantages to social media besides being used to promote stuff?

Maybe, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys being entertained, keeping in touch with people or seeing “what are they up to”. For me those are things I neither understand nor care about. I used to have the need to be entertained ten years ago but I’m done with that and I know if people want to get in touch with me they know how to do it, there’s no need to be constantly up-to-date with every single thing they do because it’s their life and I don’t want to look needy or clingy, nor do I want to have the moral responsibility of looking out for someone else’s feelings. And those who matter, they know I’m here if they need me and I know they are there if I need them, even though we have been out of touch for many many years.

dog going down the staris of social media
Bong Gu going downstairs once she learned about how to do marketing effectively on social media

On a final note, and somehow relevant to this post, I’ve also been eight months free from alcohol, and four years without gambling. They are small victories but they all add up.