When motivational speaker Sam Demma found out that he was spending almost three hours a day on social media, he realized that only two of his sales came from direct messages on one of those platforms. The rest of his business came from sales outreach, phone calls and deep relationship building. 

Then a bit of an ambitious, interesting challenge came to mind: “What would happen if I took one year off of social media?” 

Sam went cold turkey with it, completely removing all the social media apps from his routine; LinkedIn and email being an exception, for work and business purposes. The first week was weird for him, “I found myself picking up my phone just to put it back down again since I had nothing to scroll through.” Nothing to scroll through?! What a weird concept. 

So what does he do now?

Three hours a day on social media equals to around 1,095 hours a year. “Why not dedicate those hours to adding more value to my life?” Every day, since he started going cold turkey in the summer, Sam has spent an hour doing something that adds to his life and recording his learnings in one of his new favourite apps, Evernote. From meditation and mindfulness to consuming content related to his niche and accelerating his business, those hours dedicated to social media have turned into valuable self-improvement time. 

Another area of his life that has seen some improvement in his self-esteem. When he was on Instagram, much like a lot of us, it was too easy for him to compare his self-worth with the people he follows. Eliminating social media during this time removed that potential since he’s not scrolling through beautiful feeds of other people’s amazing lives. 

“I always felt the need to tell people what I’m doing and post [moments of] me on stages. That kind of did a disservice to my own self-confidence because I wasn’t validating the best parts of my life; when I wasn’t on stage or I wasn’t having a very extraordinary or spectacular day,” Sam says. 

“We always compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reels.”

Let’s take it to teaching

If there’s anything Sam thinks should be brought to students based on this experience, it’s:

  1. How to truly practice mindfulness and how to make time for it.
  2. How our self-worth is not attached to an online presence. 

You can say that second point again! Sam says he hears a lot of younger folks say they wish to be a TikTok or YouTube star but wants to remind us that it’s important to build real-life significance before online significance. Developing our relationships and experiences IRL outweighs the value we might feel from gaining online fame. (Psst, this also speaks to step 3 of practicing safe social: building offline skills!) 

“Strive for experiences that will make you more valuable and you’ll still have other amazing outcomes and consequences due to that.”

Raizel Harjosubroto

Raizel Harjosubroto

It sounds like "ray-zell"! Raizel is a recent journalism grad with a passion for sharing stories in different ways. With a knack for pop culture, her main interests are in internet subcultures, communities, and how gen z-ers consume the internet.

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