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Lancaster Guardian,
11th Nov 2021
 

“You’re brave” swiftly followed by, “I really wish I could do the same” has been the most common response to telling someone I am leaving social media. I often wonder why they think it’s a ‘brave’ move. Is it because I might miss out on a good party? Maybe as a photographer, I could lose work. Or maybe I’ll get bored. Either way, these thoughts have crossed my mind whilst weighing up whether to stay or leave the ‘Big Three’ (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).

For many, the last 18 months have been lived largely online and digital overwhelm is not uncommon now, but my doubts about social media have been around longer than covid.

The sheer amount of information that careered into my brain as I accessed these platforms, often left me feeling drained and very distracted. I found it difficult to focus on creative work for extended periods as I wondered if a client had responded to my message, or if anyone had liked my latest post. Attempts to limit my usage have ultimately proved fruitless so it’s time to say farewell.

 

Who knows, maybe it won’t be forever, but at the moment I hope it is. I already feel more present. When I am out for a walk, meeting friends or on a photo shoot with a client, I no longer have half a mind on the content I could be creating for Instagram. I am more focused on pieces of work that require my sustained attention. I have even decided that it’s worth missing the occasional incredible social event for the greater work-life balance I’m afforded.

 

I am of course working on new ways to connect with clients and collaborators. I am focused on developing my website and how people can find me via Google, creating a useful newsletter, and meeting people face to face again. I am also considering starting a podcast.

I am a portrait photographer because I love people and I feel that social media can promote superficial, and often negative, interactions. I love that real-life organic conversation is still one of the most fruitful and interesting aspects of my business life. Social platforms are not all bad, and for some they’ve been a lifeline during the pandemic, but for me it’s time to step away from the socials.