Episode #90: My ‘Complicated’ Relationship with Social Media

In today’s episode I’m talking about something I have so many messy, imperfect and contradictory thoughts about: my complicated relationship with social media as a business owner.

Creatively Human is now…
Quietly Ambitious!

My podcast changed its name to Quietly Ambitious in November 2021. You might notice some older posts and episodes that use the old name, Creatively Human.

Listen to the Episode:



Ruth Poundwhite 0:06
You’re listening to creatively human with honest conversations about what matters to us and how it really feels to build an online business, put our work out into the world, make an impact in our own unique way, and importantly, to get well paid for it. I’m your host Ruth Poundwhite business mentor to quietly ambitious humans. Hi, and welcome back to the creative the human podcast. Today’s episode is about something I have wanted to talk about for a long time. Before we dive into today’s episode, let me tell you about a brand new challenge I have got coming in May, is called success without sacrifice for sensitive business owners. And it’s all about rewriting the rules around what it takes to scale your business as a sensitive and quietly ambitious entrepreneur. We’re going to dig into my rest framework, which stands for radical entrepreneurial self trust that makes anything possible in your business, using your feelings and intuition as a business tool, rewriting the rules about who you think you need to be and actually using your sensitivity as a superpower. rewriting the rules about what you think you need to do, and the art of aligned action taking to help you launch with ease in a way that deeply connects with your right people. Five days together to explore what it means to successfully scale your business without sacrifice. It’s going to be amazing. And I would love to have you join in. Just head to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash challenge for more details. And make sure you sign up soon as the challenge is happening in early May. And if you’re listening after that date, go ahead and sign up anyway as I have something else for you. If you need that link again, it’s Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash challenge. Plus, it’s all in the show notes on my website, Ruth Poundwhite. calm. I’ll be honest, I have been putting off recording this episode purely because I have so many thoughts about it. They don’t feel neat and tidy. There’s so much I want to say there’s so much I’ve read there so much I’ve experimented with that. I don’t think I’m gonna say at all. I don’t think I’m going to say all perfectly. But I’ve just had to start recording and tell myself to trust whatever comes out because I can always come back and do a follow up episode about this. And I probably will. It’s something that we’ve talked about on the podcast before. It’s one of the topics that people come to me the most about whether it’s based on something said in a podcast episode or stuff I’ve said in other places. And yeah, I know, it’s something that we’re all thinking about as online business owners. And that is our complicated relationship with social media. The good things about it, the way it helps us personally, the way it helps us business wise, and the difficult stuff about it, the noise, the comparison, itis, the addiction, all of that stuff. So please know, I’m just recording this imperfectly. I’m also on a bit of a time limit before my son gets back and starts making loads of noise in the background. So I’m just going to say what needs to be said right now. And I am totally open to more discussion about this. Please come chat to me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite. Or if you have ever bought anything from me, you are welcome to join my facebook group, which is called the inside. If you’ve never bought anything from me, by the way, I do have a 10 pound pack of affirmations that will get you an invite to the inside. If you’re on the inside, if you’re in the inside, if you want to be in the inside come and talk to me there about it. It’s something I am thinking about working on all the time and having conversations with my clients about all the time. So yeah, this is an ongoing conversation. First thing I want to start with is my relationship with social media over time. So some of you who are listening to this may not be aware that this business so I am now an online business coach and mentor to sensitive humans. This is not my first business. I have been mentoring people for the last two and a half years or something like that. And before that, I way, way before that in 2008. I started out as a freelance copywriter. I eventually grew that business. I grew a team, I scaled the business. And you may be interested to hear that I did that completely without social media. Now, technically, it wasn’t completely without social media. So I was a member of a couple of Facebook groups, but honestly i’d built the business up before that. I did technically have a Facebook page but I had like 50 likes. I never posted on that page that

was the extent of my social media, right? I did not make make my money from social media. And I will talk about that later on in this episode. But basically, I was really afraid. When I started my business, I was 21, I had this real mental block about being too young to be taken seriously in business. So I basically never wanted to show my face online. my avatar profile picture was me with a massive hat on and a big shadow across my face. And it wasn’t just that I worried I was too young, I was just like awkward and shy and massively introverted, and I didn’t want to show my face. So I think that’s important context to this conversation about social media. Because Yeah, so throughout all those years of my first business, I was only using social media for

personal reasons. So I was on Facebook, I didn’t really use Twitter. I was also on Instagram as a lurker. And then, fast forward to when was it 2018, mid 2018, I decided to start building a presence. I wasn’t actually mentoring any clients, then I didn’t really know what I was going to sell. By just I decided to start building a brand around me supporting other business owners. And I just decided enough was enough I was gonna get visible I was I had been lurking on Instagram for a while. So I decided to stop lurking, decide to share my face all of that stuff. Interestingly, a few months before that, I had also decided to come off Facebook, to deactivate my personal Facebook profile, because I didn’t think it was really doing me much good. The only thing I really miss about that is the connection I had with like, relatives who don’t live nearby. Apart from that, though, I have not missed it in the slightest. So I deactivated my personal Facebook profile, and I created a new profile just to join business related groups. And, yeah, it’s been a really interesting experience having built up one business completely off social with a lot. I mean, still a lot of like social stuff happening and networking online and in forums and things but not on social media, versus this business where really, I showed my face from the start, I decided that that was going to be the method by which I grew my business. And I really wanted to use social media as a shortcut for growing my business versus doing it the way I did it the first time around. And yeah, interestingly enough, so I would say that since I made social media more a part of my business, that is when I have found social media more addictive, so I was already lurking on Instagram, like I said, before being on there and using it to build my own business. But I definitely became more addicted, use it more often scrolled more often, and all of that stuff, since it became more of a crucial part of my business, which is really interesting. I wonder if other people might be the opposite. And if they didn’t use it so much for personal maybe they wouldn’t use it so much for business, but it’s definitely been the other way around for me. I mean, I feel like this episode is gonna go all over the place. But basically, I have definitely noticed in myself signs of compulsive and addictive behaviour. And I have read several books that have helped me become more mindful of that kind of behaviour. I actually read a book called The Unexpected joy of being sober by Catherine grey. I just read it out of interest, I wanted to like I don’t feel like I have a problematic relationship with alcohol. But I was just curious, and a lot of the stuff. I mean, I can’t remember it all clearly now. But I remember thinking about the kind of, you know, rewriting these pathways in your brain when you do something more and more and how it becomes compulsive and releases like dopamine, and all of that stuff definitely rang true to me for social media. And as an introvert as a highly sensitive person. And as someone with anxiety, I’ve definitely found that social media has, you know, been difficult at times. It’s also meant that I’ve that kind of compulsion to check social media and scroll has left me feeling disconnected from the real world sometimes. And I actually let me back up there. I don’t really like differentiating between social media as being not the real world, because it totally is the real world. And I will talk about that in a sec. But yeah, it it has led to me not being present in what I’m actually doing sometimes or who I’m actually with, which I hate to admit, but I’m sure that a lot of us can relate to that. So I’ve had several times where I’ve like detox from social media. I’ve deleted the apps or I’ve set myself to notes and I know that I have a compulsion to check it because I’m sure a lot of you, again, will relate to this. Every time I delete my Instagram app, I just do it mindlessly, I get on my phone and go to where it was, and go to click on it, and it’s not there. That’s how I know that this has become kind of mindless compulsion. And obviously, I say the word addiction. I don’t, I don’t know if it’s right to use it in this context, but it’s definitely addictive and or compulsive. But yeah, and I just want to like give a shout out to a couple of books I’ve read about this. So one of them is called How to break up with your phone by Catherine price. She talks a lot about some of the, you know, what’s the word? What’s the word, I’m looking for the negative effects of using social media. So for example,

the way it makes you feel about yourself, how it can trigger anxiety, stress, depression, and all of that, which was, you know, really good to get the facts, it’s quite confronting. And then obviously, the rest of the book, she talks about how to actually use your phone less. I would also say that one of the books I read that really made a huge impact on me was digital minimalism, by Cal Newport. And it’s not just about social media, his book, it’s really about being mindful of the way we use all technology. And that includes like mindless streaming of boxsets, and things like that, and how we connect with people. And also also recognising that although social media has certain benefits, like weighing them up against the costs, and all of that, so I’d really recommend reading those books if you’re interested in exploring this. But basically, yes, I think most of us are aware that there are a lot of negative effects associated with social media use. It’s also important to say here, that there are a lot of positives associated with social media as well. So going back to my journey of how I first built my business without social media, having come out of the lurking phase, when I decided to kind of get visible and build this new brand, it was just incredible to have that feeling of finding my people. And I’ve always felt a little bit like an outsider, I’ve always felt a bit different. It’s probably due to being introverted, and not always say, like having a rich inner life and not always sharing that stuff with other people. So social media kind of taught me a lot about myself, it helped me find my people, and that I will never ever regret being on social media for for having that effect. It was just so beneficial to me. And I know that that is so beneficial to other people too. And it’s also really, really important to mention the it’s not just finding my people. It’s also hearing diverse opinions, diverse experiences of being human. And in a couple of the recent interviews you may have heard, so I did an interview with Jane Ashby about diversity and inclusivity for business owners. I also did an interview with Robert deep core about anti racism, especially for business owners. I never would be having I mean, okay, I hope it wouldn’t be never but you know, I mean, I, it’s, it’s not as likely for that I would be having those conversations if it weren’t for social media, if it weren’t for following the people that I follow on social media. And I am so grateful for social media for that. As much as social media algorithms can be biassed. They also can show us things that we were just oblivious to before they enter quite harmful way. Right. So I mean, since starting this podcast, I’ve always been really mindful to follow a diverse range of voices on social media. Obviously, everyone I interview has a certain kind of philosophy of business, but I try to follow a diverse range of humans and talk to a diverse range of humans, because that really matters to me. And frankly, I find it incredibly interesting to hear as many different perspectives as I can. So I just want to like make it super clear that I am so pro social media for giving people a voice. I’m so pro social media for giving marginalised people especially the opportunity to be seen and heard, and I say that as a woman, but I also say that as a privileged white woman, so so I marginalised to an extent as an introverted woman, but I also realise I am highly privileged and there’s so many people who look like me sharing their experiences in all different ways. I’m talking about the other intersections of marginalisation and I yeah, I love Like I said, it’s not just about like it’s not just about following To have a diverse range of people for it for, for the sake of doing that and checking, checking checking a box. It’s about hearing like a range of human experience. And that’s what makes life interesting, right? But yeah, so I just wanted to say that,

um, what else I was gonna say was this whole idea. So going back to kind of like some of the negative effects of social media, when we might go on a detox or, or potentially we find ourselves like comparing ourselves to other people. or finding that there’s a bit too much noise on social media. I am a huge fan of muting, and unfollowing people, if it’s like triggering me or causing me to feel like comparison, itis or whatever. And the caveat to that is always, if someone triggers you, if someone makes you defensive, because they’ve got a different opinion, always pause for a moment and consider why because sometimes, that difference of opinion is, is really a fantastic opportunity to learn. And if we’re too quick to meet and unfollow, we lose that opportunity to learn. And that’s the kind of this idea of like, my social media profile is my my rules, I’ll just follow who I want to follow. I’m on board with that largely, but only to the extent that we’re still willing to hear other people, we’re still willing to look internally at why we’re being defensive of certain things and explore that without like blanket just deciding. I’ve got my point of view, and it’s fixed. So I hope that makes sense. And I just thought it was really important for me to say that. But yeah, so there are huge benefits for being on social media, as people and as business owners and I have definitely benefited massively. Social media was a huge part in the early stages of this business and growing my audience, it was a huge part of me getting comfortable with myself and my voice. It was a huge part with me getting comfortable showing my face online. It’s been like the way I found pretty much all my podcast guests, you know, all of that stuff. And I also know that I’ve also felt like social media has been too much of a part of my life and business. And this, I’m just gonna kind of go into where I am currently at with social media and what I am doing about this addictive and compulsive behaviour. So one thing that you may have heard in an earlier interview, and I don’t have the episode number two in mind, but it was this Season Season Five, I did an interview with Helen Redfern about creativity and social media and self doubt. And one thing that she said, that I think really sums it up, is that she realised that she was spending so long on the perfect Instagram flatlays on the perfect captions on the perfect posts. She was spending so long curating her Instagram and getting that right that she wasn’t actually doing the real work of her business. And the conclusion that she came to, was to make social media a part of her business, but not the centre of it. And that is exactly exactly how I feel. And I would say that at first, when I first came on social media, I didn’t have any rules, I was giving myself permission to experiment, it was really great. Social media served me very well. But then came this like rocky middle patch, where I was growing my business, but I was then letting social media become too much, you know, the likes and the comments were getting to me, my ego was making me want to post things that would work in the algorithm versus posting what I really want to post. My ego was also judging how good I was at what I did by how many likes and comments I got, rather than Okay, is my business growing, which it obviously has been. And at times, I can say, you know, really, certainly that social media was causing me anxiety absolutely was causing me anxiety, and I’m not using that term lightly. So I realised that my, that social media, for me had been been taking up too much of a part of my life in business. And I have tried a number of strategies to help me with that. So one of the things I’ve been experiment, one of the things I’ve been experimenting with over the last few months is hiring out social media to a social media manager. I am aware that not everyone listening will be in a position to do this, but there are certain lessons I’ve learned from it that you will be in a position to do so just keep listening. Basically, I was I’ve done detoxes before, right? I’ve taken weeks off social media. I’ve taken months off social media. And they are I highly, highly recommend doing that because firstly, they will they will show you just how compulsively you’ve been checking it in the first place and they will also To show you how you’ve been using it to fill every spare second of your time, and suddenly you have free time you’re like, what should

What should I do if I don’t do scrolling right now. And secondly, they will just, they will give you clarity about having a detox will give you clarity about how you really feel about social media and the role that you really want it to play in your business. And I’ve totally lost my train of thought, I will be honest with you, let’s just keep going. Oh, this is what I was gonna say. So it was probably during one of these detoxes. Sorry, I just bashed my laptop, it was probably during one of these detoxes that I realised that going to post I was I was kind of noticing, okay, what triggers me to get on social media and to start scrolling mindlessly, and it was like, okay, it’s obviously all the times I go into the app to post, to post grid post to post stories. And I’m talking about Instagram here. Obviously, there are other social media platforms. And also, I was posting grid posts at a certain time of the day. So like 7pm, even though that’s when I finished work, but I just thought that’s when I should post because that’s when I’ll get more likes, because that’s when more people will see it. And it always, it just made me have this feeling of being on when I should have been switching off. It’s hard to explain, but I’m sure you can relate. So I decided that I wanted to reduce the number of times I’m personally logging into social media. So one of the ways I could do that was to hire it out to a social media manager. So just to be clear, I still write my own social posts. I think that my voice is very important in my brand and business. But my social media manager creates the images for me, she edits the images, she schedules them, she does the hashtags. She also shares like some, like offers, I’ve got two stories, she also repurpose is all post sometimes, so that I don’t have to constantly write new ones. And I will say it has helped me massively with my social media addiction, I use it less. It’s, I guess there’s that thing, isn’t it, if you know you’ve got a post later on today, if you’ve no, you’ve got to write something later date, it’s going to be on your mind for the whole day. That’s what this has taken away from my mind. And I realised as a business owner, I have so much stuff in my head all the time that I need to take as much out of my mind as possible. So it’s been really helpful for that, it’s also been really helpful in forcing me to write my content in advance. And I know that this is a bit of a sticky subject, especially with sensitive entrepreneurs who like like to write in the moment because it feels authentic. I agree with that, right? I like writing in the moment, the problem is when it’s always on your mind, like, Oh, I might write a post later. And this may not be a popular opinion. But I do think for sensitive business owners, scheduling your social media in advance takes a lot of weight away from your shoulders. Honestly, scheduling and advance is a kind thing to do to yourself, it can feel a bit tricky. But once you get into the habit of it, I don’t know, I just feel so much lighter. Knowing that I schedule in advance, and I’m not perfect. My Social Media Manager will attest to that. Sometimes I’m quite last minute with giving her the content. But it really does help and you don’t need a social media manager in order to implement something like that. The other thing I noticed was logging into stories, because stories are designed to be posted throughout the day. And you know, you could say the same of like short tweets, or, you know, going on your Facebook stories, or in a Facebook group or whatever. Some of these things are really designed to get you going into the app regularly. And they are literally designed that way they want you to keep coming in the app, they want you to keep giving them new content throughout the day, I would often go into Instagram to post a story. I mean, I still do, let’s be honest. And then, you know, half an hour later, I still haven’t posted that story. I forgot what I gone there to do. And I’m still scrolling. So reducing the amount of time I post on stories has also been very, very helpful. Very helpful for me. And one of the things and I recorded a solo episode a couple of weeks ago about taking an unexpected month off in my business and this included social media. One of the things that became crystal clear to me during that time was that I need time off social media in order to develop my own unique work.

On I think that all business owners, I think that all of you listening have something unique to say. And I think that when social media use becomes a problem is when you are so overly influenced by what other people are saying that you are questioning yourself. And I’m not saying that in a judgmental way because I do it to trust me. I do it too. I will be so happy with my work. And then I can log into social media and I can see one post that will like will just shake me and make me question everything. I do it too. That is why I think we need more time off social media to develop our own ideas to develop our voice, to understand that there are different ways of doing things, there are different opinions about things just because that person got tonnes of likes for saying that thing that doesn’t quite fit with what you do, does not make your thing wrong. And I think it’s really, I don’t, I can’t emphasise enough how important making social media less of my business has been for me developing my own unique ideas, my own unique framework, my own unique message is so important. And actually, I wanted to bring up here something that Cal Newport, the guy who wrote digital minimalism, has coined solitude deprivation syndrome. So he’s basically saying that because of our use of technology, whether that’s social media, or devices, or streaming or whatever, we don’t have that time alone. Even when we are alone, we’re not truly spending time alone with our thoughts. And Cal Newport really goes into the benefits of solitude. So the benefits, he says, are about understanding yourself, coming up with new ideas, being in a place mentally, that you’re not affected with other people’s ideas. And, yeah, having that freedom to, for your mind to wander. And I think that that’s something that I definitely can feel when I’m more intentional about my social media, and I’m out on it less that benefit of solitude, because we can be on our own physically, and totally not have any mental space. Right. And that doesn’t, and honestly, here, I even things like going for a walk but always having a podcast on. Or Yeah, like having something streaming in the background, even stuff like that can get in the way of this solitude. So I just wanted to mention that here. I think it’s a really useful kind of thing to consider solitary deprivation syndrome, and I will put a link to a video that he did on YouTube. Because, yeah, I definitely think it’s the thing. And following on from that, and like kind of developing your own ideas and voice and stuff, I just want to say that actually, although I do think being on social media and showing your face and being visible can be a shortcut, it definitely was a shortcut for me and growing this business. I also think that being intentional about social media will save you time, it will shortcut your business success. Because when you’re using it mindlessly, or when all the noise is getting to you, when you’re questioning everything you do when you’re comparing yourself to others, you’re gonna, you’re gonna stop doing what you’re doing, you’re going to get stuck in analysis paralysis, you’re going to get overwhelmed, you’re going to try one thing, question and then try new thing. It’s not going to be easy to build the momentum with your business. So actually, doing less social media can actually do more for your business is what I really believe. And actually, that kind of leads me on to the next thing I want to talk about, which is actually building a business successfully without ever using social media, which I do, by the way, believe is 100% possible.

So the first thing I want to say about that is whether you’re on social media, or you don’t want to be on social media, or you’ve never been on social media, I really think a lot of us should be thinking very strongly about email marketing, because even if social media works for you, even if you don’t feel like you need to spend less time there or whatever, and the algorithms, okay, you know that you are building your platform, you’re building your following on somebody else’s platform, you don’t have control of that. And when it comes to email marketing, you have control of the email addresses that sign up for your list. Even if you had a problem with your email service provider, you can backup your list, you can export that list, you can sign up that list to a different provider. So I really think whether you use social media or not email marketing really should be the heart of your business. And that’s definitely how I see it. It’s kind of the hub. Everything else I do leads back to my email list, which then leads to nurturing and sales. So I just wanted to say that, and the way I ran my previous business was largely based on emails. Now obviously, social media is a way to grow emails. And if you don’t have social media, you’re going to need to use different strategies. So some of the ones that I used were things like I was posting in forums. I was connecting with people that way. I was people were referring Other people to me, I got some traffic from SEO, and I’m not gonna lie, I do think SEO was easier back then it was 2008, I don’t really know much about SEO, it just so happened that it worked for me. What else affiliate marketing and joint ventures that kind of thing getting in front of other people’s audiences. And like nowadays, some of the ways in which I’m growing my email list without social media, because if having that month off that I recently had taught me anything, it’s that I need to, I need to run a business that I that won’t fall apart. If I can’t show up. for health reasons, for personal reasons, I need to run a business that can keep going, if I can’t personally show up for it in the moment. So I already have someone working on Pinterest, I get email subscribers from Pinterest every single day. And that is amazing. It’s not loads every day. But it is a really decent amount because it builds up over time. And if I were starting from scratch, or if I was like, decided to quit my social media, now i’d be getting on podcasts, I’d have a really juicy reason for people to sign up to my email list, which I would link to from the podcast, I wouldn’t be getting in front of other people’s audiences through any other means. So like, guest posts, interviews, guest expert classes, joint webinars,

all the ways to get in front of other people’s audiences, I would be focusing on Pinterest, because you can literally just hire someone to do that for you. So you don’t have to worry about it. And I would probably have an affiliate programme. And actually I am behind the scenes setting up an affiliate programme because it’s so important to me that I don’t put all my eggs in one basket. So I’m going to have social media, I’m going to continue with social media. But me and social media are not as close as we once were, I have totally, I really have disconnected from it quite a bit. And that is intentional. And it is for the benefit of my own well being. But so I’m still going to be on social media, but I’m putting more emphasis onto the kind of automated stuff. So that can be organic. But when you’ve got the money to pay for it, then why not pay for it. So I’m also doing Facebook ads, and I’m paying someone to do Pinterest. So that’s just a really quick overview of what I’m doing and how I think you could be building a business without social media. And obviously, there’s loads more stuff I could say about that. But I hope that just like throwing the ideas out there. Just, it just helps with saying that there’s another way, you know, social media is not the only way to grow a business, I built my first successful business without social media at all, you can still do that. It may help if you had money to invest in ads, or whatever. Or it may help if you have a network or some friends audiences that you can get in front of is certainly possible. And that’s just kind of what I wanted to get across. So that’s kind of what I wanted to say, like I said at the beginning of this episode, it’s not perfect. It’s not everything I wanted to share, it doesn’t have all the stats that I wanted to come prepared with, because I just haven’t had the capacity to sort all those out. But if you go to some of the resources I’ve mentioned, you will find the stats, you will learn more about what he does to your brain. You can read more about alternative philosophies of technology use, and all that stuff. And before I give you a list of the resources, which by the way, are all going to be in the show notes. And that’s probably the best place to go to that’s on my website, Ruth Poundwhite comm forward slash podcast. Before I get to that, I just wanted to share that a few weeks ago before recording this episode I posted on my Instagram stories. Ironic I don’t know about social media and how people feel about it. And I just wanted to share a few of the polls and a few of the suggestions people gave because I think it’s really useful to hear other people’s perspectives on this. Okay. So I asked people, how many people use social media just for business versus for life and business. And by the way, I can’t remember how many people voted in these polls, but it was really well voted for compared to regular polls I ran like there were a lot of votes. 26% of people said that they just use social media for business versus 74% of people who use social media for life and business. And I was kind of surprised at this because like I said, I decided just to use social media for business. I really do try to remember that it is my work even though I love so many of you on social media and I love it. In many ways. I do try to remind myself It is a job. And that was a really good decision for me by the way to get rid of my personal Facebook but I’m I mean, I can see that other people are making it work both ways. The next question I gave was, Why do you use social media? Is it because you need to Or is it because you want to and that was a 44% of people said, because they need to 56% of people said it’s because they want to. Now I know this is a simplistic question. It’s not nuanced enough. But just remembering you don’t ever need to do something if you really don’t want to. And I know that for most of us, it probably fluctuates between wanting and needing at different times. But yeah, I built my first business without social social media, I’ve gone through different ways we can build without social media, it’s not 100%, I think you have to do if you don’t want to. Okay, and then next up, I asked people how they feel about how social media makes them feel, on average, and most people said, it’s a bit in the middle between fantastic and not great. So I thought that was kind of positive, I guess. But I just, I guess it’s just a really good opportunity. As a reminder to check in with how things are making you feel. The whole way I do. business is all about how things make you feel, and that they won’t be sustainable in the long term if they don’t feel good. So just a reminder that check in with how you feel about social.

Next up, I asked people whether they had ever felt the need to delete, delete your social media accounts or detox from social media. And the vast majority of people said they did. I had some good chats with people in the DMS about this. And some people said that they’ve got ways of managing it. So they’ve never gone that far. For example, like deleting the app on weekends, or setting screentime limits, or whatever. Personally, for me, and this is a sign of how addictive social media have become that stuff doesn’t work for me, I always find ways around it. So I always have to properly detox. But I’m glad to hear that it works for some people. Okay, and then next I asked who has rules about how they use social media for business and who just plays it by ear. It was about 5050 split. And I found that interesting, too, because I really need to have rules and boundaries. But then again, I’m pretty addicted, addicted to social media. So it makes sense that I need rules, and some people have a healthier relationship with it. Then and this is the juice when I asked people some examples of some boundaries they had, so I will share some of them with you now. So one of them was no phone after dinner, mostly social media free weekends. Someone says they set time limits for business and they focus on engaging and sharing and not just posting. One person said they don’t take bookings or arrange podcasts, etc. On messages, they try to do that or by email. A lot of people said no social on weekends. One person said, My rule is that my feed is my rules. AKA I will block mute unfriend at will to keep it what I like. And I support this assuming that it’s in terms of like, you know, reducing the noise curating your feed. So it’s a place that you want to be. But like I said earlier on in this episode, I do think it’s important that we listen to different viewpoints, and that we check in with ourselves when we’re defensive about what someone says I wouldn’t automatically mute or unfollow. If someone just said something different to what I thought I would mute and unfollow people if I was being triggered. And it’s usually something to do with me and not them. But I would definitely check in with myself first. Let’s see some other boundaries. People say they have ad blockers that block it at specific times, people limit the time they use it each day. Someone said they limit the time spent on looking at other people’s work, which I think is very helpful and very good for supporting your own unique ideas. And people said they batch create their posts, which I think is very, very useful. Yeah, and someone says they don’t even have the Instagram app on their phone. And actually, that is something I tried in a part of the time I took off in my business and it helped me loads. So I logged in on the desktop a few times to reply to DMS, but I didn’t go on Instagram, really, because it’s not very nice to use on the desktop. And I found it just like really broke some of those bad habits that I had. Okay, the next question I asked was, how do you grow your audience for your business? Is it mainly on social media or mainly away from social media and it was three quarters of people said it was mainly on social media. But a quarter of people said it was away from and I just wanted to share that again, as further proof that you can grow your business away from social media, if that’s what you really want. And then I asked people the good things about social media, like in one or two words, and most people said connection, community, meeting new people, and getting ideas. And then when I ask people, the negatives, two things came up again, and again, it was comparison and mindless scrolling. And I think it’s really important to reflect it like mindless scrolling is kind of obvious how much time that’s taking from us, right? But comparison is also stealing our time and it’s stealing our energy and it’s taking away from our unique ideas as business owners Yeah, I’m sure we all know that, but I just wanted to kind of reiterate that.

So yeah, just a few quick thoughts from my audience on Instagram. And before I finish, I just want to share a few resources with you. And like I said, these will all be in the show notes. So there are quite a few other episodes of this podcast that mentioned these issues with social media in some way. So Episode Six, I talked about being visible and vulnerable online, Episode 24. When I interviewed Laurie Collins, she was talking about selling on social media. Episode 31 was really quite focused around social media and cultivating a healthy relationship with it with Maria Evans, who works with a lot of teenagers. And it was a great conversation because we talked about the good stuff, as well as the bad stuff and also, you know, teaching teenagers how not to believe everything they say on social media, Episode 35. When I interviewed Sarah Tasker, we talked a lot about the responsibility of influencers. And in Episode 40, with Jessica Rose Williams, we talked about the numbers and how she had this goal to get to 10k followers for so long, and then it was kind of like, it didn’t mean what she thought it meant when she got there. Then one episode that I got a lot of great feedback on recently was Episode 73, with Helen Redfern. All about social media creativity and confidence. Episode 85. I talked about my recent unplanned month off business and social media and a lot of realisations I had Episode 87 Cuthbert talked about the expectations that come with having a larger following on social media. And most recently, Episode 89 was with Robert deep core on systems of oppression. And I think it’s really important to, to re emphasise that these are absolutely present on social media to algorithms are biassed algorithms have a lot of power people can be people can be I can’t think of the word but some people can be more visible on social media is something that’s just get buried in algorithm. So yeah, lots of podcast episodes to listen to if you want to dive into this more than books wise really recommend digital minimalism by Cal Newport. I also really recommend how to break up with your phone by Katherine price. And then the book I read about drinking and alcoholism was the unexpected joy of being sober. And it was just interesting to me. Oh, by Katherine grey that is. And it was just interesting to me to read that and see the similarities between being addicted to alcohol and being addicted to social media. Obviously, there’s many differences too. But yeah. And then I’m gonna link to a couple of video in the show notes as well, which is Cal Newport talking about solitude, deprivation. And finally, just want to invite you to talk about this with me on social media ironically. And like I said, if you buy my 10 pounds affirmation bundle, you can get an invite to join my free client, any Facebook group, which is a really nice space. And one of the positive things about social media, honestly. But yeah, you can also chat to me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite. And before I finish, and I’m really rushing because my son’s about to come in. Before I finish, I just want to share a quote that I wrote down. And I read digital minimalism like two years ago, so I don’t remember everything from it. But I did write down this quote at the time. So the quote is, the cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run. And that quote is by Henry David Thoreau, by the way, and that quote, definitely makes you think. But yeah, that makes you think, right, how much how much life are you exchanging for social media? And is it worth it? Is it worth you actually exchanging money for support with it instead of life, and I know that not everyone listening is in that position. But I at least want to put that idea in your mind as something to aim towards, because at the end of the day is your life, whatever you’re spending on time on in your business? Is your life and we’ve got to make decisions about where we spend that time. So yeah, some food for thought. Not a perfect episode. But I hope it has given you stuff to think about, I hope it has made the alternative options clear to you. I hope it’s gotten you excited about ways to build a business off social media, if that’s what you want. And I hope we can keep talking about it. I don’t have the answers. I still navigating this. I didn’t realise how starting this business was going to affect me so much in terms of that social media addiction. But I definitely feel like I’m getting into a very much healthier place with it. And I hope you can see. Okay, well, I will catch you again soon. We’re almost finished the season, but there’s still a few juicy episodes to come. And before you go, don’t forget to go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash challenge to sign up to my free challenge which is coming in May. It is called success without sacrifice for sensitive business owners. And it’s all about rewriting the rules about what it takes to scale. Your business as a sensitive and quietly ambitious entrepreneur.

It’s going to be amazing. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of creatively human. If you have a moment, I’d be so grateful if you could rate and review the podcast, it really does make a difference. And if you’d like to carry on the conversation or ask a question for a future q&a episode, there are three ways to connect with me on the Facebook group on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite or my personal favourite, my behind the scenes newsletter. Just go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash newsletter to subscribe and keep doing what you’re doing because your work really does matter.

Note: at this time transcripts are automated and unedited, which means errors may occur. But we hope you find them helpful!

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Show Notes

In today’s episode I’m talking about something I have so many messy, imperfect and contradictory thoughts about: my complicated relationship with social media as a business owner. I’m diving into the bad stuff, the good stuff, how I’ve been distancing myself a little from social media lately, the importance of cutting out the noise to develop our own business ideas, and ways I’m building my business without putting all my eggs in the social media basket. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so come chat on Instagram (find me @ruthpoundwhite). And remember, you absolutely can run your business in a way that works for you, even if they might not include social media. In fact, I’m running a whole challenge about rewriting the rules about what it means to scale your business, in my Success Without Sacrifice challenge. You can sign up here: http://sensitivebusinesschallenge.com

“How much life are you exchanging for social media, and is it worth it?” 

Some of the things I talked about:

  • How I built my first business without social media
  • How social media helped me find my people and my voice
  • My decision to quit using social media for personal reasons, and only use it for business.
  • How and why I think my social media use became a problem.
  • Things I have done and am doing to healthily distance myself from social media.
  • The importance of time away from other people’s thoughts to formulate your own unique business ideas
  • Ways in which you can grow a business without social media
  • And a whole list of resources if you want to dive further into this stuff.

Links from this episode:


Other podcast episodes on this:



  • Cal Newport on solitude deprivation syndrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ajTZKcQne0
  • The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.‘ – Henry David Thoreau quote.

Other episodes you might like:

“My ego was judging how good I was at what I did by how many likes and comments I got.”

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Thanks so much for listening!

When you subscribe to updates you get access to 3 bonus episodes of the podcast – exclusively for email subscribers – that dive behind the scenes of my business (I talk about failures, money, community & more!)

One thought on “Episode #90: My ‘Complicated’ Relationship with Social Media

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