I’ve been off social media for 1 month now, and I’ve never been more present in my life + business. 

It sounds like a dramatic change (especially for the CEO of a company that strategizes ads on social media… ). 

But, our addiction to scrolling the ‘gram is getting worse!

It’s high-time we made changes – especially as business leaders in a growing industry. 

This is one of many ways I’m protecting my time + energy as my business grows (for more about this, listen to episode 116, “Protecting your time + energy as a CEO”). 

In this episode, I’m reflecting on my month-long experiment to eliminate social media from my everyday life. 

I’m talking about… 

  • How scrolling the ‘gram creates FAKE FEELINGS of happiness (+why that’s detrimental to your business success)
  • Why OVERSTIMULATION on social media is ruining your everyday moments
  • And what my team is strategizing now to create real, genuine visibility – even though I’m OFFLINE!

I encourage you to take your own social media detox – especially during this upcoming season of holidays and bonus family time. 

And then let me know how it goes! YES, you can send me a message on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) – my team is still tracking social! Or leave your comment right here. 

Key Points: 

[2:07] I’ve been off social media for 1 month now, and here’s why

[3:50] It’s more than a distraction – this is what’s stopping you from solving your own problems… 

[5:55] A funny thing happened in the first week after I deleted the apps 

[7:16] I used to really struggle with boredom during family time especially 

[9:42] I just didn’t know how much I need the space from over-stimulation!

[13:43] BIZ TALK: My team is still strategizing how I can be genuine + visible on social… 

[15:27] It might be coincidence, but my company is doing better now than before!

[17:18] So, how can you connect with me now? 

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Episode Transcripts:  

Emily Hirsh: I’m Emily Hirsh, and this is The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Attention innovators, influencers, creators, and game changing entrepreneurs: Your internet domination begins right here. We are the powerhouse marketers that you’ve been looking for. You’re already making waves in your industry, and we’re here to help amplify those waves of change by creating a connection that cuts through the noise. We take everything you’ve built inside your zone of genius and find its audience. With killer strategy and laser eye for impact, we launch multimillion dollar campaigns and skyrocket your reach online. And now, we are doing the unheard of. We’re unveiling everything we’ve learned, taking you behind the scenes with the Hirsh Marketing Team, and giving away the secrets to our clients’ success. Stay tuned for top converting strategy, ROI reports, and insider knowledge that you won’t find anywhere else. You’re changing the world, and we’re the team to help.

Emily Hirsh: Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope everyone is having an amazing November and getting ready for those holidays. We are here for Thanksgiving and going to California for Christmas. I’m supposed to go on a trip tomorrow. I think I’m going to go. I’m supposed to go to this event. I’m not actually speaking at it, and I kind of have this rule that I don’t go anywhere that I’m not speaking… but I got invited, and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll go.” And it’s with some of my friends, and so I was going to go, but I’m like, going through this weird thing where I’m super indecisive about, “Should I go?”

Emily Hirsh: And I have three more hours to decide if I should cancel my plane ticket and still get the refund, or not, and I just can’t decide for the life of me, and I hate that. I’m usually so decisive, but I don’t know. I think it’s the pregnancy. Usually I love to travel, but getting towards the end, I’m like, “I want to stay home,” and “It’s cold,” and I just want to be home and work on things. But also, a huge part of me wants to go, because soon I’m going to have a baby, and I can’t do this as much.

Emily Hirsh: Anyways, that’s what’s going on in my life. Today I’m going to talk to you guys about, a more personal podcast really fast, just to talk to you about this, and I feel like it’s good, because by the time this comes out, I’ll have been almost a month without my personal social media. So I think this is a really important topic. And it’s not marketing strategy, but I think it’s like, if you’re a CEO, if you’re somebody who has to make a lot of decisions, has a lot of people asking them questions, has [a] constant fight for your brain space… which is what I feel like I am… it’s like, decisions… 

Emily Hirsh: …really having to make decisions, support my team, jump in where needed, and just have brain space. And if I don’t protect that brain space… which, I did an episode a while back on protecting your time and energy as a CEO [episode 116]. And I talked about that, the importance of having that white space and brain space and just like time to think in your life. Because if you don’t have that, as you grow a team and as you build a really successful company, it gets really hard, and [if] you’re not able to clearly make decisions, you’re going to also feel a lot more stress when something happens. And, having that has been crucial for me this year. So, I have a friend who, they just took social media off their phone, and it was, I don’t know, two weeks after they did it, and I went over and saw them, they live in Austin, and I was amazed.

Emily Hirsh: I genuinely noticed a difference in his presence and calm and stress level, just talking to him and the presence of talking to him… than when he had social media, versus didn’t, I actually physically noticed a difference, and I was like, this is crazy. So we started talking about it, and started talking about what social media does, and just psychologically what it does for you, and the serious addiction, but also there’s dopamine hits when you go on social media. And so if you’re, let’s say, stressed about something or frustrated about something or you’re feeling emotions, and then you go on social media, it kind of makes you ‘fake’ feel like everything’s fine. And so, let’s say, you’re a business owner, you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re dealing with this big problem that you need to put your focus on, but your brain’s like, “I’m just going to pop over here to Facebook…

Emily Hirsh: …[get] a couple of dopamine hits for that, and I’m feeling better! Things must be okay.” But really it’s not, it’s tricking your brain. And you might argue with me on this, but I really believe it, because I’ve seen it happen with several people who have taken social media off [their phone], and then I’ve recently taken it off [my phone], and I feel it, too. The other thing that’s crazy to me is, I hate being addicted to anything. And so, anytime… sugar, things that I feel like I can’t control [the] need [for], I don’t like it. I always analyze it and myself. So I do that with sugar. I’ll go 30 days absolutely without it or longer, and noticing when I do that, how badly I want it. And you really don’t realize that you have that, until you take it away, usually.

Emily Hirsh: So when I took social media off my phone… I’ve gone a week before without it, which is the longest I’ve ever gone. And I mean without it, like I deleted the apps from my phone. I can go on it on the desktop, but I don’t. Like, who goes on Instagram on the desktop? So I actually haven’t logged into Instagram for two weeks. And I go on Facebook, because I just need to check those notifications for business reasons. But I only go on my desktop for five minutes a day. And honestly when I’m on my computer, I don’t have time to go on Facebook, because I have so much to do in my short, compacted time that I am on a computer, I don’t even think about it, and I don’t go on Facebook, and if I do it’s like five minutes.

Emily Hirsh: But when I initially took it off, I deleted the apps, and for like, four or five days after, I would subconsciously unlock my phone and go exactly where the apps were previously, before I deleted them, and go to click it. And almost a couple of times, clicked the wrong app, because it wasn’t there anymore, and so it was another app. And I was like, “This is crazy!” I did not realize how often I was just picking up my phone, sliding up face recognition, going to the app, clicking it subconsciously, and I was like, “I hate this. I don’t want to do this anymore. I have to change this.” And it took like, four or five days for that to go away. And I’m talking about like, “Okay, [I’m] in the grocery line [or] I’m just sitting there with my kids, pick up my phone, open it, try to go to the app,” like what am I doing?

Emily Hirsh: But I’m not even thinking about it. So that was really crazy to me, which… it obviously happened last time I took social media off, too. But what that’s doing to your brain, to me, is mind blowing. Obviously social media has made it so that… that’s the way they built it, so that you want to do that. But lacking that control over your decisions, I don’t like. I took it off. It took about five days to go away. Now I don’t do it anymore. And the second thing, though, that I noticed that was another big thing is, I really struggled to play with my kids. It sounds funny, but in the afternoon when it’s time for me to hang out with my kids, and I’m always very conscious of that time, I stop work by three or four, I really struggle sitting down on the floor in the playroom and playing a game with them.

Emily Hirsh: And my son, he’s four, he wants me to play a lot, so he’ll be like, “You be this guy, and I’m this guy, and here’s the storyline.” And I just really struggle with it, and I try really hard, but as soon as I start, my brain starts going somewhere else, and it’s just not stimulating enough for me. And so I struggle, I push through, but I struggle, and I just feel like I’m not able to be present with him, or either of them, during that. But what I noticed, that I did not expect is, after about a week of having social media off my phone, I was able to do that better. And I was like, “Why is this happening?” I was able to sit there and play for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, which is a long time if you don’t like it!

Emily Hirsh: That’s a long time to play pretend, you know, transformer guy. And I was like, “Why is this happening?” And I think it’s because on our phones and in social media, we have these instant stimulus reactions. If you think about Instastories, it’s 14 seconds [long], really fast. You get that information, and it’s just fast. You’re not having to read through or focus on something or be present for a long period of time. Your brain is jumping around to all these different stimulus. (And I am not a brain expert, so if I use the wrong words, I’m sorry!) But it’s jumping all around, and it’s very short attention span. That’s what social media has really trained us [in], especially with stories, and just the way that it’s set up.

Emily Hirsh: And I realized, I didn’t have any attention span to sit there and be super present with my kids in an activity that didn’t have massive stimulus for me, until I took away social media and I started kind of calming down my brain. And I’m sure there’s so much here that scientists have studied of what… I know it changes the physical chemistry of your brain, when you do and don’t have social media. But I felt like, “Oh wow, I can sit here and actually be present and not jump around my thoughts, because I’m so unstimulated.” So that was really interesting. And the main other reason that I did it is, the brain capacity and the brain space. When you’re growing a company, I feel so much more mental clarity and just calm and present and able to show up with the level of energy that I need for my team every day, when I don’t use social media all the time.

Emily Hirsh: Because if you think about it, I never really used it during the day. I would be working, so I’m busy, and I’m very good at focusing during work. I’m very good at having time blocks, giving people my attention when I’m on a call with them. But afterwards is where I would kind of struggle. So when it’s time for me to be with my kids, it was hard for me to have enough stimulation during that time. I would turn to my phone, even though I didn’t want to, then I’d end up feeling guilty for it, and try to leave it in my office but break the rules, you know, all this stuff. And so, now, I’m able to unplug, and like, actually, truly having that “unplug” [feeling] where you’re like, “I’m not on social media at all in that afternoon.” [It] allows my brain to reset and allows my mental awareness and just clarity to be different.

Emily Hirsh: And I’m also able to be so much more present in all of my conversations, in person, with friends and family, and then also on the phone or on zoom with my team, just because I don’t have that constant stimulation. So I encourage you to try it. Like, take it off your phone for a little bit, and see. You’re going to, one, see how addicted you probably are, because it’s so crazy how you go in, press the app to open it… and I’ve even had people tell me, “Yeah, I took it off my phone, and then I went through Safari and logged into Facebook and still went on.” That’s how crazy it is! And here I am, a marketer… we make a lot of people a lot of money off of Facebook ads, but let’s be real.

Emily Hirsh: Most of the population is not going to stop using social media. But I do encourage you to really look at it and be intentional with it as a CEO, because you need to save your energy and save your brain space and that clarity and thinking as much as possible. And if you can do that, taking social media off your phone and really being super intentional with your time…. If you want to give yourself 30 minutes a day, fine. It’s just something that is so easy to get out of control. You sit there, and you’re like, “I just scrolled Facebook for 20 minutes. What am I doing?” That’s what I would do at night, even after putting my kids to bed. I was like, “I could’ve just been reading my book, and I’m sitting here scrolling Facebook,” and like, why?

Emily Hirsh: Because I’m not getting anything out of it, I’m just sitting here looking at stupid things really. And why am I doing this? Why can’t I put my phone down? And I have to completely take it off my phone. I’ve had screen time rules where it locks your apps from certain hours. I just enter the code, and I go in any ways. It doesn’t actually stop me. It has to not be there, and I really have to not really know my password, because then I could try to cheat and go in. But I didn’t even try to do that this time. I also haven’t had email on my phone in two years. And so that was a game changer when I finally took that off my phone. And I never will put it back, and I don’t think I’m going to put social media back on my phone.

Emily Hirsh: So my team and I are strategizing right now… So I basically just went dark on Instastories. I used to post them every day. That’s another thing with Instastories is, it changes your experience in your life when you’re thinking constantly about like, “Got to post this on Instastories, got to record this, got to do this.” I don’t want to do that, and I don’t want to be that. I just want to be more present. And we have to make a conscious effort to be more present, because there are so many distractions around us today, and we have to just have insane boundaries around it to save our mental space and our clarity. My team and I are strategizing, “How are we going to still show up on social media, with me not even having it on my phone?” And I’m kind of determined to crack that code so that other entrepreneurs can do it, too.

Emily Hirsh: We obviously still post, that’s an easy one to do. But stories are tough. Stories are really tough, because they’re meant to be in the moment. So how do you pre-record stories to still connect with your audience? [That’s] what we’re kind of working on a strategy for in the next coming months of like, pre-recording some really strategic content that still connects with my audience, that still shows the behind the scenes in my life, that still allows people in like that, because I enjoyed doing that, but it’s not like I’m a slave to it, addicted to it, can’t get off of it, and lack that. And I don’t think I’m going to go back. Right now on my phone, I have no email and zero social media. I use it to text people, and that’s about it. My workout apps, my Oura Ring app, health apps like that.

Emily Hirsh: But I don’t go on it mindlessly, and that’s been the best thing I could ever do. I’ve read more books, I’ve been more present. It’s changing the way my brain is working, and it’s really cool, and it’s really powerful, and it’s not an easy thing to do, to take social media off. And I mean, I’ve done it for a week before and then put it back on. And this time I was inspired by my friend, because I was like, I genuinely noticed a difference, and I think that you might notice a difference in me if you were to have a conversation with me and talk to me, because you change the way you’re able to be present, and you’re not constantly thinking of that like, “The second you’re bored, open your phone, pull up the social media app, dopamine hit, let’s look at other people’s stuff.”

Emily Hirsh: And that’s actually another thing right there is, I am so focused on my business and my growth and what we’re doing and what I need to do and where I need to spend my time, that I have a zero capacity for comparing myself to other people, for looking at drama, politics, any of it. I don’t have… there is no more room for that in my life. I need to protect myself from it, and if I don’t take action to protect myself from it, it just kind of hits you, that stimulus and that noise, and not having it, I don’t need to compare myself to people on social media or read statuses that make you feel like, “Oh, I wish I had that. Let me look at their highlight reel.” And I’m pretty good about not, and pretty good about being real [and] myself on there.

Emily Hirsh: But let’s be honest, it’s social media, and everyone’s version is usually their highlight reel of their life. And so, I don’t need all that noise. I just need to focus on my company. Because I’m blowing it up right now. And our company, if I actually look at it, is growing faster than it has in the last quarter, right now. Maybe it’s a correlation of that, I don’t know, there’s no proof of that. But I think that it absolutely does help your growth, because it’s just cutting out that noise, cutting out that distraction, preserving your energy, preserving your time, your mental capacity, where you think, where you put your energy. Where you put your energy is so important as a CEO, because you will never have enough time to actually, evenly, put it where you want. It’s going to always feel like, “I wish I had time to do that.”

Emily Hirsh: And so it’s like, “Start making the decision to only do things that are going to move you forward and are going to grow your business,” and really preserving that space and that energy is really important. So tell me if you’re going to do this. I would say, don’t actually message me on Instagram! We’re still checking my Instagram messages, but… No, I’m just kidding. You can message me on there (@emilyhirsh), and my team will check it, and I’ll check it every once in a while. But I’m not on stories. If you’ve noticed that, I have not been putting my kids on stories and us on our weekends, we’ve just been super unplugged, and it feels a little bit weird. I’m actually… This might be weird saying this, too, because I don’t even know why this feels this way, but I, sometimes, am like, “I wonder if people are going to think if I’m okay,” because I’m not updating my stories on the weekend.

Emily Hirsh: And you kind of almost get to this obligation of, “Oh I went and did this cool thing. I have to go document it.” And it’s like, why? How did we get here? And I had that thought a couple of times on the weekend, or [when] I traveled, I traveled to Toronto. And before I deleted the apps, I had really cut down my use, because I was kind of almost annoyed. I met [with] my friend, and I was like, “I want to be like that, and I want to do that.” And then I was like, “I’m just going to stop using it.” But I was still scrolling and going on it, so then I finally deleted it. But I went on a trip, and I didn’t document anything, I didn’t put [up] any stories. And you have this almost like, obligation of, “I have to put this, because I need to share it,” and it’s like, “No I don’t.

Emily Hirsh: I can just be in the moment. I can just be present right now. I don’t have to document it. I don’t have to share it.” And honestly, like I just said, our business is booming right now. We’ve signed tons of new clients, IGNITE sales, all of it. And I’m not on stories. So it’s not like you have to be a slave to that. That’s why paid ads are so awesome, because you don’t have to be organically showing up every day, and you’re just still everywhere. And that’s why I love paid ads. We’re still running paid ads. My team’s still managing my ads. We just aren’t… I’m just not on stories. And my income has not gone down. So I’m going to crack the code on how to still show up on stories and make it really feel authentic and not pre-recorded.

Emily Hirsh: But I’m not probably putting Instagram and Facebook back on my phone. So, let me know if you decide to do this in your business. If you think it’s hard, it is hard [you know] if you have done this. At least try a week, at least do a week [long] social media detox. And I think you need that long, because it takes that long to stop literally trying to go to the apps as habit. I still open my phone a little bit, and I open it like, “What should I do?” And then I’m like, “There’s nothing to do,” and I close it, I close my phone.

Emily Hirsh: But let me know. Send me a message [on Instagram @emilyhirsh], comment on this actually. If there’s a post, [or] you can comment on this actually, directly in the podcast page, or let me know if you guys are going to try this, because it would be a fun thing for a group of us to do together and just kind of share the experience, because I hope I relayed to you how powerful I really feel this is, when you try it in your life, and I highly recommend it, at least for a week.

Emily Hirsh: All right guys, I’ll see you next time. Thanks for listening to the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast. Go behind the scenes of multimillion dollar ad campaigns and strategies, dive deep into The Hirsh Process, and listen to our most popular episodes over at if you loved this episode of the podcast, do me a favor and head over to iTunes to subscribe and leave a review, so we can reach more people and change more lives with this content. That’s all for now, and I’ll catch you next time.