When was the last time you reflected on your day and thought, “Damn I had a great time on Instagram”?

Never? Same.

*Quick note – this post will likely be forever live as a rough draft documenting my thoughts and experience with distancing myself from social media. The act itself is a work-in-progress – growing, evolving, imperfect – and this post will be the same.

My first child was born in July. I had imagined that I would be so filled with wonder, so engrossed in every moment that I would have no desire to open Instagram. 

But I was wrong. 

Long nights in the rocking chair, daytime hours where I’m too tired to function but too wired to sleep…if anything I’m more prone to pull out my phone for mindless escape. 

And beyond just getting pulled into the algorithm, I feel pulled to tell my story as a new parent, to document the journey in a public way. I don’t even know where that comes from, but all the super successful Instagram people seem to do it, and the thought distracts me more than I’d like to admit.

Social media is a massive presence in our lives, and that anything taking so much space better bring us immense joy. But it doesn’t. Not for me anyway.

It feels like something is off balance. That’s not how I want to live.

For me this is the beginning of a very personal journey, one that would look quite different for you. I will ask some hard questions of myself. My answers are not your answers, so please try not to take them personally. If I believe anything it is that social media has put us in a tough spot. We’ve got to give ourselves grace.

Democratizing communication – the good in social media.

I want to pause to say that social media has positively influenced our world in many more ways than I can fathom. A lot has been said on this topic and I am not here to challenge any of it. We should take those positive attributes and bring them with us into the next evolution, whatever that looks like. 

But the reality is that these platforms are still owned by billionaires that are largely above regulation and above the law. What we see and what we don’t is subject to the whim of a few CEOs and software engineers. We can only hang our hats on these platforms for so long. They are too vulnerable.

I also want to say that plenty of individuals and organizations have leveraged social media to do really incredible things. I do not mean to take anything away from them. If you are someone who can improve our society or environment through Instagram or Facebook, please keep fighting the fight. This article isn’t for you, it’s for the rest of us who are mucking around in the shallow end.

My history with social media

I started my photography business 4 years ago, and that was the beginning of social media for me. I have grappled with it ever since. It never felt great. Sometimes I felt like I was doing too little, other times too much. Lately, I’ve been feeling the pull of the algorithm and the loss of inner space that comes with avoiding silence. 

As I began my own journey of questioning my presence in social media, I asked this question to a group (on Facebook, no less) – 

“In 2024 I would love to get off of Instagram and close my Facebook business page. Half of me says that I should keep them open and ignore them, but my gut says that I’d be happier going cold turkey.

“I’m curious if anyone has experience with leaving social media/ closing business accounts and how that has impacted SEO. I have heard plenty of experts say that Google likely takes social media profiles into account to some degree, but how much? Any thoughts or experiences to share?”

This was an SEO group, and my question was relatively technical and fairly direct. What I got in return was over 100 comments, most of which focused on the “why” instead of the “how.” It struck me that people are emotionally wrapped up in this topic. A lot of people feel similarly to me. A lot of people feel a bit defensive. 

And rightly so. Some folks have built businesses that rely almost entirely on social media. This topic is pretty personal for them.

But I found that the majority of people simply feel that it is a necessary evil for their business. That not being on social media is a detriment. That potential clients find social proof in us simply having a presence, even if we are pretty inactive. That Google might think we are out of business if we close our Instagram pages. That we can’t give up that small potential (for those of us with small followings) that someone might stumble on our work and hire us. 

In this journey of questioning social media, someone said this to me –

“It is like saying that you disagree with a political candidate, but that their policies will be profitable for your business, so you vote for them”

To put it bluntly, I think we often hide behind our businesses. If a thing is good for our business or good for the economy we would be irresponsible not to do it or use it or sell it. I am guilty of this to be sure. 

But I am also ready to face the music and put actions where my values lie. I’m also a little scared. As I have told various people about my plans to leave social media here are all of the reasons they told me not to do it.

Why you shouldn’t close your social media accounts

  1. Someone can pick up your business name and impersonate you.
  2. Bad SEO. It signals to search engines that you’ve closed your business. 
  3. When someone searches “your business name” you want all the top results to be something that you own and control. Social media accounts help you achieve this. 
  4. Potential clients find social proof in your various social media accounts. 
  5. There is always a chance that someone will find you and hire you via social media. Don’t throw that away. 
  6. You lose access to so many great groups. Some of these are good for marketing, some are great community as a business owner.
  7. Facebook Marketplace helps reduce waste by creating a community of buying, selling, and gifting used items.

Some of these, like being impersonated or telling Google that you’ve closed your business, are legitimate fears that reach well beyond social media. And the last two really have me scratching my head – I am part of a number of Facebook groups that I consider part of my business community, and I use Marketplace all the time. I hate the idea of giving those up.

A 2-Step Process Because I’m Scared

(written in late 2023)

If I were more courageous, I would close all of my social media accounts today.

Instead, below is my plan for 2024.

Go dormant on Instagram. Instagram has been my main squeeze, so I’m downright scared to abandon it. Instead, I am going to delete all but a few posts and make sure that every caption explains that I am not actively using social media. My bio will say something like “not really on Instagram, click the link to connect.” I will delete the Instagram app.

Delete my Facebook business page. I have never spent much time here anyway, so this is low-hanging fruit for me.

Use my personal Facebook only for groups. I’ll update my profile to explain that Facebook is only a way for me to stay part of a few business communities. I will also add a few recent posts explaining the same. I will delete my Facebook and Messenger apps.

I don’t consider Pinterest or LinkedIn social media (for me). I haven’t used either extensively, but I am keeping them both. I see Pinterest as a search engine, and I see LinkedIn as a resume. 

Baseline at The Enloe Creative

Where I stand now is really important to how this journey relates to you or your business. Or how it doesn’t! 

The first thing to know is that my business is relatively new (I went full time in October of 2023) and am still in the initial growth phase. From that perspective, it is really hard to think of leaving any potential leads from social media on the table. 

As of late 2023, I have 494 Instagram followers and 43 followers on my Facebook business page. Suffice to say I am not an influencer, and I do not get much business from each. While I have certainly had a few clients reach me via social media, this is not the backbone of my business. 

Currently, most of my leads come from a mix of in-person and email marketing. I use a unique “popup photo studio” at local events to meet families, take few quick pictures, and get them on my email list. 

SEO has been a long road for me, but I am starting to gain some traction and have a number of leads this year that found me in 2023 via Google. 

At this point I don’t use any paid adds.

TLDR – I am not bravely abandoning a massive social media following. Instead I am hoping to show that the fears about “potential clients” and “social proof” are overstated for a business like mine. That if you don’t currently rely on social media, you can just leave. TBD 🙂

What we stand to lose on social media

The philosophical and the practical, in no particular order.

Loss of inner space

There’s probably no point in trying to trace the beginning, but for a long time now we have been learning to fear boredom. Certainly since the invention of the television, but probably long before that, moments of silence are filled more and more with…anything, everything. These days, it is all at our fingertips. Music, videos, social media, even weather forecasts or search engines – we pick up our smartphones incessantly to fill ever smaller and smaller pockets of time.

Think about the uncertain duration after the nurse walks out of the office and “the doctor will be right in.” The 2 minutes waiting in line at the grocery store. The 15 seconds at a traffic light. I’ve pulled my phone out for all of them. You only need a few seconds on Instagram to scroll.

There are a lot of ramifications (some good) of this instant gratification, but I am certain that we are forgetting how to be alone with ourselves. Boredom is unthinkable. 

Yet we accept, a little grudgingly, that boredom is key to expression. Art, philosophy, and revelations are often borne in those moments between the thinking. A lot of times they simply don’t emerge until we allow ourselves to be a little bored.

A little more esoteric – I believe that really happy people know and love themselves. I mean, how can you be happy if you don’t love yourself, right? And how can you know and love yourself if you never sit quietly with your thoughts? If you never embrace boredom?

To bring this back, social media is like fine sand that fills the smallest gaps of time in our lives. It is the extinction of what little boredom was left.

Living for ourselves

Similarly, as I became more embedded in social media over the last few years, I realized that I was analyzing nearly every part of my day for its value on social media. Which is to say that I was beginning to make changes in my life, or at least how I experienced it, based on the potential reactions of other people. I mean, I value the opinions of others, but when we are talking about people I barely know, who live far away, and who will be judging me based on a photo or video viewed through a 3-inch screen, it becomes a pathologic.

Living with intention

The more we spread ourselves thin, the less intention we give each realm of our lives. The common business approach to social media is the shotgun approach – having a presence on ALL of the platforms.

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Threads, Mastodon, etc… No brand without a dedicated marketing team can show up in all of these places with intention. So for small businesses, the presence is superficial.

And what kind of a message does that send? Simply put quantity over quality. It feels a little like telling your kid that they should sign up for every single extracurricular activity so that they can make more friends. Instead of building relationships, they are busy running from one activity to the next.

Lack of ownership

Here’s a really practical fault of social media – you don’t own the journey. You can spend years, even decades building an empire of followers, a real community that is dedicated to the story you are telling. And then one day…some billionaire (or software designer) can decide to change the rules and light your empire on fire. 

We’ve seen it happen, in moderate degrees, through algorithm changes over the past 5 years. When you build your business in these spaces, it’s like building a house on a floodplain. It is a matter of when not if. Look, there is risk in everything. But I’m not sure that many business owners are really doing the math. Is the risk worth the reward?

The process and a journal

An objective log of the journey. Subjective thoughts along the way.


Created a new landing page to link from Instagram. Here’s what it looks like https://theenloecreative.com/instead-of-instagram/

Created an away message in Meta Business Suite that automatically replies to all messages sent through social media. Here’s what it says – 

Thanks for reaching out! Social media has never been my jam, and I’m pretty inactive as of 2024. Here’s the best place to learn more, get in touch, or join my world-famous (not yet, but someday) newsletter. 



Deleted my Facebook Business page. Learned that I now do not have a Meta Business Suite and that my away message doesn’t work. Of course it doesn’t. Oh well. 🙄

I cleaned up my Instagram grid to just a small group of representative posts. I drafted my “exit post” to have it ready for December 31st. I created an email newsletter with a similar message.

I removed the social media widgets from the website footer, and from my newsletter template as well.


Deleted the Facebook app on my iPhone and moved the Instagram app to the 4th page to discourage use. It turns out that a lot of Instagram settings are only available through the app, so if I’m keeping my account open for now, I need the app to manage it.

I scheduled my newsletter email telling my current subscribers about leaving social media.


I sent out my newsletter. Here’s what it looked like.

Posted my final Instagram post and pinned it to the top. I also created an Instagram with a link to my social media landing page/ newsletter signup. I highlighted that story to every category so it is the first thing anyone sees when they are looking at my stories.


My creativity and excitement right now are peaking. I don’t know if it is just the new year, but I suspect it is the space I have gained from quitting social media. I still reach for my phone, or without thinking start looking for the Instagram app. But I am not disappointed when I remember it isn’t there.

Whenever I used to rock my daughter during a nap (she sometimes won’t let me put her down) I would scroll or catch up on social media. The phone seemed easy since I could keep one hand free. But I never really looked forward to those contact naps – I always felt restless. I can’t believe it took me 6 months to realize that reading (like a real book) while she sleeps on my chest is arguably the most enjoyable thing in the world. Better late than never.

I have also been writing profusely. Blogging photo sessions from last season actually feels fun because I have the time to write something meaningful and integrate the posts into my website with intention. And journaling longer-form content (like this article) is becoming a natural process. In the mornings or after a run I often feel ideas bubbling to the surface and now I have the bandwidth and clarity to write them.

“Clarity” might the the best word for all of it. Social media is the opposite of clarity. Without it, everything makes more sense to me, and I now know exactly where to put my energy.

Here are all the things I’ve written and posted in the past 9 days –

Golden Hour in Black and White
Presidio Wood Line with a Toddler and Baby
Baker Beach Sunset with the Toddler and Pup
Solo Parent Session at Crissy Field
Rodeo Beach With a Baby and Toddler
Tennessee Valley With a One Month Old
Marshall’s Beach Sunset With a One Year Old
Documenting extended families
Documenting the First Year of Life


It feels like the universe is telling me that this was the right decision. After spending nearly a year beating my head against the wall trying to improve my SEO, I had a major breakthrough immediately following my exit from social media. On January 6th, my homepage went from ranking (for “San Francisco family photographer,” my main keyword) in the 90’s, to the first page. Then, just a few days ago, it jumped to POSITION ONE!!!

Now I want to be very transparent – I do not think that my changes on social media directly to this dramatic improvement in rankings. I think it probably had a lot to do with adding a few quality backlinks, potentially paired with some quality new content. If you look at my Google Search Console (screenshot below), you can even see what was likely Google “testing” my site on Page 1 later in 2023, well before I left social media.

But while not directly related, I think there is a connection. I have had more time and bandwidth, allowing me to create more quality content, update my website, and pitch myself to other publications. I have written a guest post for a local mom’s group, scheduled two podcasts, and been featured in a few online magazine interviews. These things improve my SEO.

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