God is > facebook
I know this title sounds absurdly obvious. And it is. But there was an instance in which I had to make myself believe it to be true. Allow me to explain.
On Friday, September 5, 2014 I published a blog post giving my three-day notice for my departure from facebook. I told the world I would be deleting my facebook accounts, and they reacted. My feed was suddenly more popular than it had ever been. I was getting more questions and comments than I had ever seen. And the response I received was a mixed bag of expected, and very unexpected. I got a lot of “why are you leaving?” comments, and several “I will miss your pretty pictures in my feed!” comments. But the comments that shocked me the most were the ones that touted how brave I was for leaving Facebook. Many people told me they wished they could leave too. Some told me it was “a bold move.” And many people wished me luck in my business without Facebook.
I guess I wasn’t terribly shocked that people would be worried about how my business would succeed without Facebook. But I couldn’t get over the words brave and bold.
I had already been running through the cost of leaving facebook in my own mind for a while. I had spent weeks praying about deleting my accounts. Why, they asked? I had a whole list of whys!
It had become a terrible distraction for me. I had fallen into a belief system that facebook was the key to my business success. Thus I had to nurture my facebook account 24/7. There were “rules” about when to post, what days to blog and not to blog, how to get follower engagement, and how soon you should comment back to your fans. I believed I had to do it perfectly to make my business succeed.
And then there were “groups,” hundreds of them; one for every different photography style, business type, geographic location and more. They planned shoot-outs, meet-ups, coffee dates, group chats, etc. And because of this, FOMO (fear of missing out) became real. I thought if I didn’t attend every single one of the events I was invited to, I might suddenly be out of the in crowd.
And I gave it my all. But it came with a cost.
I found myself complaining about not having time to exercise, hang out with friends, watch movies, go for walks, read books, etc. When I looked at where my time was being spent, it was a three way split between shooting, editing, and FACEBOOK. My facebook fan base became an unhealthy obsession that told me my worth. It told me whether people liked my work or not. It also told me whose work they liked more. And it told me that if I just spent more time “engaging” with my “fans,” I could be worth more, little by little. (I know that in reality this isn’t true, but in my head it was).
The cost of facebook fame and success was too much for me. When I found out what I was sacrificing to make this system work, I decided to make a change. When people questioned, what it would cost my business if I deleted my facebook, all I could think of was what it was costing my life to keep it.
It sounds crazy to make such a big deal out of a social media website. But the struggle was real. I tried deleting the app off my phone to see if it might solve my problem, but then I found myself at my computer more, or just using Facebook from the internet on my phone. I knew that if I didn’t delete my accounts all together, nothing was going to change.
As I prayed through the process and questioned how my business could succeed without facebook, I found myself repeating, “God is greater than facebook.” Facebook didn’t give me my business, and it didn’t run it either. It is by the grace of God that I am able to run a photography business, and by His grace, I will succeed.
I’ve heard stories here and there where people refer to me as “the photographer who left facebook.” I can’t help but giggle about that. And people have asked me how I’ve managed business without facebook. How do I get people to read my blog? How do I stay busy? I’m not sure I have the right answers for those questions. I don’t know if people read my blog. But I trust a few people do (if you’re one of them, I adore you!) And as far as staying busy, well, that’s all relative now. I don’t want busyness like I used to. But I do aim to have a steady clientele that I can serve well.
Lately I’ve been dwelling on the verse 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.” For me, the solution to business without facebook is simple. I pray success over my business. I pray that it will glorify Jesus, spread love, empower others, and provide for my family.
In writing this post just four months after taking the leap, I can tell you with confidence, God IS greater than Facebook!