Social media…is it worth it? (plus bonus words!)

Social media…is it worth it? To me, no.

A modern smart phone is a great thing when used wisely. Beyond the fact that it actually makes phone calls, which ironically is the lowest selling point of a modern phone, it’s a camera, calculator, calendar, entertainer, organizer, etc… An entire business can be ran from it. But just like a tool in your shop, a modern smart phone can either be a tremendous problem solving convenience tool or, if used incorrectly, can be the wrong tool for the task causing you to decrease efficiency and waste time.

Since my wife and I adopted our daughter we’ve both been hit with the reality that our phones and social media consume too much of our life. So we started limiting our phone use as much as possible. We started only bring one phone when leaving the house for communication purposes only and made a conscious effort to limit the use of phones in the house. We’ve gotten better and better at this over the past few months and the results reinforce basic common sense; reduce or eliminate phone and social media use to become more social. It’s funny how the reality of “being current” can blind you from what’s currently going on.

Problem/solution time. As I mentioned earlier, you can run an entire business from your phone. But you can also get caught up in the addiction of not putting it down. Soooo much to do and so many helpful apps to get it done. And they are all designed to get you addicted. The problem; My time management has drastically reduced to a zombie pace because I’ve become addicted to my phone. My fault. Not anyone else’s, just mine. The solution; turn on Do Not Disturb mode and remove all social media from the phone while I’m at work.

Notice I said remove all social media from the phone and I didn’t say delete social media accounts. I do think social media is a necessary evil for running a business in today’s society. So I don’t plan on ditching it completely. But I do plan on drastically reducing it. Over the years I’ve put less effort into Facebook as it’s become more of a “pay for exposure” platform where people who genuinely like your content matter less than how much money you want to spend to reach those same people. I don’t remember the last time I made a post on Facebook that wasn’t automatically shared from Instagram. Instagram is falling down a similar destructive path of quantity over quality. Post now, now, NOW, more, more, MORE….because if you don’t post now, now, NOW then your engagement goes down and that’s not good for Instagram’s bottom line.

In middle September I made the decision to remove all social media from my phone. A month later I’ve determined that to be such a great decision. My productivity has gone back up and I’m not constantly wasting time posting meaningless pictures just to maintain the status quo of “you have to be active on social media to run a successful business.” I installed Instagram on my phone last night to catch up on direct messages, post some random pictures from the past few weeks, and just say hey to the community. A few minutes later I caught myself in the endless cycle of swiping up over and over and over and over and over and over with no end in sight. The value of social media is determined in how well you utilize it. Social media has gotten boring and, due to the way I utilize it, has lost it’s value to me.

So that brings me to the goal of my business. The core purpose of any business is to generate a profit. And ask 99.99% of business owners out there what their main goal is and they will say to increase profit. That is not and has never been my main goal. In 2008 I lost my low paying, low responsibility, low ambition, but very comfortable lifestyle and job due to the stock market. It had nothing to do with my performance. In the few years after that I had a few crappy jobs that I left due to other people there. Again, nothing to do with my performance. When I started my business I had the goal of simply working for myself. If I failed it would be because of me. If I succeeded it would be because of me. And to this day that desire still remains true but I’ve come up with a better way to say it. My #1 goal right now is to do whatever it is that I want to do (freedom). My #2 goal right now is to present it in such a way that it generates enough money to allow me and my family to live a comfortable life and for me to continue to pursue goal #1. I think we sometimes get wrapped up in “you need to do this” and “you need to do that” to maximize growth and we lose track of why we got started in the first place.

All of that to say that I want to focus less on growing my audience and more on creating content and presenting it to the audience who has already shown interest in what I’m doing. I can do that with a greater positive impact on my business by posting current stuff here on my website rather than on Instagram and Facebook. If you want to stay up to date with everything I’m doing as well as support what I do without spending any money then simply view what I post here on this website. Sign up to my email newsletter so you never miss a post. Sign up in the sidebar if you’re viewing this on a desktop computer and down below if you’re on a mobile device.

So the rest of this post is a single recap of the past few week or so rather than a bunch of daily now, now, NOW posts on social media. I’d like to turn this into a weekly-ish website post similar to my second channel vlog videos. Who knows if I’ll actually keep it up. Time will tell….

The Week That Was #1 (or any other catch title that may come from this series)

As we always do through August-September-ish in Mississippi, we’ve been in a bad drought for the past few months. Most areas have four seasons and I argue that Mississippi has two; constant rain for 10 months and hot and sticky drought for 2 months. Luckily our entire lawn has a gradual slope with two houses up the hill next to us and a few more down the hill on the other side. This means we will always get the moisture from the neighboring lawns so our grass should never die off or turn too brown due to the drought and we will never be flooded. The first rain of fall finally came down so it was time to empty the burn can in the shop. How do you get rid of scraps?

The following day the temperature dropped drastically. It was glorious! Mid 60-s with a gentle breeze. Sign me up for that! So many people suggested that I eliminate the roll up doors in the shop and replace them with a studded wall. That’s a negative folks. No way I was going to do that and completely miss out on the very few great weather days we get in Mississippi. I ended up getting insulated doors with windows and I don’t think I ever showed the exterior. This was the first day in the 60’s I’ve experienced in the new shop and you bet I had the door open to enjoy the fresh air! Here’s a couple pics of the doors and the view from the shop.

The hickory workbench finally got demoted. I mentioned in my Hickory vs Pine Workbench video that the hickory bench doesn’t absorb enough vibration with hand tools. Using chisels on it is like hitting a metal pole with a metal baseball bat. Instead of the workbench absorbing the vibration like the pine workbench does the vibrations are transferred back to the chisel hand causing discomfort in a short time. It’s still handy to have against the wall to hold stuff but when it comes to actually working on stuff the pine workbench is still my #1.

The folks at pantorouter.com have been steadily improving their product. I really like to see companies continuously innovate and improve their products. They sent me an updated version of the Hybrid Pantorouter with their much improved templates. Everything about this machine is improved over the previous version that I have. I’m working on an all inclusive stand for it that will house all of the accessories and also, hopefully, a cyclone separator and shopvac to make the entire setup incredibly convenient to use anywhere in the shop.

Speaking of improvement, the full size nesting chair templates are now being shipped in two pieces. This has reduced shipping cost and also reduced the number of damaged packages. We’ve had a couple damaged packages due to the way we shipped them, which we’ve learned from, and we’ve had a couple damaged packages due to a few USPS people handling them like a baboon trying to shake a banana from a tree. Our lesson there was to reduce the length of the stick in the baboon’s hand and therefore make the package less appealing to be used as a swinging tool.

Another bit of improvement, I took the full size template, reduced the front height by an inch and a half, reduce the back height by an inch, removed the front two seat slats completely, and reduced the height of the back by shifting all of the back slats down by two slat widths. Voilà, a children’s version of the nesting chair. Exact same construction except the adult nesting chair slats are 19-1/2” long and I made these slats 14” long. I’ll have these available in my online store very soon..

And of course, my daughter loves it :) She just turned one on September 15th and started walking at 11 months old. She’s still a little small for it but I think this is about as small as this design should go. Any smaller and she will outgrow it too fast. I think this size will be usable for many years until she can fit into the adult version.

On the last Friday of September we drove 800 miles north to visit my family in Livonia, Michigan, where I grew up. This was Tyler Kay’s first trip up north and the first time where we got all six of the grandkids together. She had such a great time. We all did. The older I get the more I enjoy time with family. The trip was a short one as we had to drive back on the following Monday.

One more from back home just because she’s adorable :)

This Sunday’s video will cover the build and basic testing of efficiency of the mini splits after install. All three mini split heads now have four 20×20 Merv 13 filters installed on them. This image shows the loft unit with two filters on front and back.

No matter how much information I show there’s always going to be that one “been there and done that better than you” guy in the crowd who will say the idea is stupid and it simply won’t work. This is the reading on my Dylos meter after a half hour or so of the air cleaner cart and all three mini splits going in the shop.

I made a trip to Chad Fletcher’s place in Pontotoc, Mississippi, to pick up some more random exotic hardwoods. He has a Lucas Mill that he keeps busy with domestics but he also sells exotics. I went only for some mahogany but I couldn’t resist when I got there. I ended up coming home with a bunch of 8/4 wenge, afromosia, and zebra wood and a bunch of random 4/4 pieces of sapele, padauk, mahogany, bloodwood, and rosewood. Chad is @goodwoodsawmill on Instagram if you want to get in touch with him (tell him Jay sent you). He’s in the process of setting up a vacuum kiln to be able to offer even more wood for sale. I also reserved an entire 8′ beautifully clear ash log that he was sawing into 8/4 boards. I’ll have to pick that up after it makes a stop in his kiln. Definitely documenting that for an upcoming video…

And finally, here’s physical prototype #2 for a green and green tote I’ll be making out of mahogany soon. This will likely be the next project as it’s been in the prototype stage for far too long. I need to make the final minor adjustments and get it built. I’ll have full size templates available for this one as well. My thought for this was to make a bigger tool tote or tool box for hand tools. But really this can be used for anything and won’t use much material. And it has the bonus of looking really nice :)

That’s it for this post. Time to get back to the shop.

107 COMMENTS

  1. Loved the post, Jay. I have never owned a smart phone and don’t see why I would ever need one. I never take my regular phone with me when I go out anywhere, and have been fortunate that I didn’t get caught up in the twitter/facebook thing.
    Your daughter just keeps getting cuter each time I see her.

  2. When I first started woodworking, I watched lots of YouTube videos and ended up following other wood workers like yourself. I also found myself following them on Instagram and YouTube. I noticed that several of the content creators I follow seem to post just to post or to “engage” with their audience. What’s happened (as I’m sure you feel the same way based on your post) is that there is a lot less substance to those post.

    I also follow April Wilkerson on YouTube but had to stop following on Instagram because it just felt like it was too much. The whole reason I started following is because there was great content that was relevant to what I was interested in. While there still is some of that, it feels like it’s gotten lost in chaos of the must post more mentality. It also feels very much pay to play. Facebook / Instagram have started “boosting” a post instead of allowing content creators to work out agreements with 3rd parties. They’ve basically injected themselves into the middle of the transaction and take a piece of the pie.

    I thoroughly enjoy your content Jay and I appreciate the humbleness you have as well as your honesty. Thanks for all the how-to’s, tips and tricks. Hope you and your family have a great holiday.

  3. Your goals reminded me of a comment I read by Sting a few years ago. He said that his plan with Police was to make enough money to do what he wanted without having to worry about whether he could support himself doing it. So now he gets to do things like record medieval lute music. (and in case Sting reads this: I hope I didn’t just grossly mis-state what I think you said.)

    I get a lot of pleasure and enjoyment from your blog. Thanks.

  4. Great post! We’ve adopted 4 little ones, and although that’s not the point, being in the present and prioritizing your focus is SOOOO important for their lives and ours.

    Love your videos, so I can’t say I’ll be ditching my youtube feed. But thank you for teaching me in my woodworking journey of hobby and family.

  5. Jay, You’ve got it right, I call all of that “ANTI-social media” I agree its a time suck. I have enjoyed your progression from the trailer through to this beautiful shop and will continue. Best of luck and life to you and your family!

  6. Agreed mate. I bought my first smart phone about 9 months ago, before that I just had older phones which could call people or send and receive text messages. 2 months ago I upgraded my phone plan to include 15gb of data per month and now every damn day during lunch and smoko, I am trawling through Instagram instead of eating my chocolate bars and sandwiches. It sounds like a good diet plan, but I still manage to inhale those sangas and chocolate bars :D

  7. Great comments on social media. One of the first successful business people that Ive seen make it out of the “trap”. You are wise enough to recognize how they lure you in “to reach more people”, then you have to endlessly submit more content to try and stay relavent in their eyes. That is all just a way for you to feed their bottom line and they will throw you some crumbs if you are lucky. Love your content and the work you do. I wont lose any sleep if you aren’t on FB or IG if you won’t. 😉

  8. Great point on social media Jay. I agree with others who have posted here that those I have followed for years, like yourself, are posting anything to keep followers active. The content is lost. I do have an IG account and YT channel. I was concerned at first when I saw my IG followers declining due to my inactivity. I then came to my senses and stopped posting irrelevant posts to my reason for being in IG. I am a woodworker and have been for 30 years. I am not, nor do I want to make a living on social media. I want to post my work in the shop to be used for clients and/or for potential clients. And if my posts help others in the world, then that is great too. I love sharing as well as learning from others in the woodworking community. My woodworking Is currently not my full time business, but will be when I retire. I need to stay true to myself and why I post. It’s been great following you Jay and wish you the future success you desire. Frank (Franks Wood Designs)

  9. Jay – Enjoyed reading your post. Great to watch self actualization in process and even better to see it be successful. For myself I continue to try and be a luddite. After some many years being tied to a pager the idea of staring into a small screen goes against my grain. And since most of the calls I get are Scams or robocalls I tend to act like it “can all wait” .
    So there it is, based on others comments you are not alone. You are light years ahead of most in that you found what you enjoy to do and you are doing it while you have a family you love and who loves you.

    Now, that said I am very jealous that you keep getting these great new tools!!! That Pantorouter looks amazing…. Be sure to keep us less fortunate folks is mind when your showing your build techniques. (aka other joining methods)

  10. Thanks for the update Jay . What was the Air Quality reading before the filters ? Just wondering how much of an improvement you were able to get .

    Keep doing what you do ; )

    • I can get really low numbers with just the air cleaner cart but it takes longer. How much impact these filters have on the readings depends on how often and how fast the fans are running. I continue to use them like normal and do not keep them running just to clean the air.

  11. Jay, first off, love the little ones photo’s! Your daughter is very cute. Your “Social Media” article is spot on. I find myself in the same boat. I think I’ll do the same and delete a lot of it. Got too many Apps on there. Keep all your Woodworking coming. I look forward to it even though a lot is over my head. Your too good!

  12. I’m 33 years old and I can honestly say that i look up to you for being wise beyond your years and just simply an all around good person. Keep it up, the world needs more people like you. You have something more important than any amount of followers or likes will ever be able to compete with. You deserve all good that comes your way.

  13. Jay. Nice to see that somebody your age can stop and put the phone down. I have never signed up for FB or Instagram, or other platforms. Whenever people suggested that I follow them on those platforms, I lost interest. I tell people all the time that YOU are in charge, not the phone. Put it down and talk, engage. Think for yourself. It’s better for your brain to read, digest the info, and be in control. Maybe I’m just too “old school”, but I think too many times people have become addicted to social media and lose control. And on another thought, fresh air will always be better. I say that from da UP, eh. A guy from Michigan will understand that.

  14. Been following you from the beginning Jay. It has been a pleasure and honor to see you grow as a craftsman, husband, and father. Great to hear you choose to balance your life. Social media has it’s place, but simply as an “occasional place”: not as an everyday/hour must watch. Your choice to reduce its time, priority, and generalized impact on your and your family’s life is both commendable and a sign of maturity & wisdom. While it is nice to know how family & friends are doing, it is altogether another to be involved in the never ending world of “the gossip column.” Sadly, almost all social media has devolved into little more than gossip columns. So welcome back to sanity and reality.

  15. I really need to do the same, social media has become such a time waster. It’s sad to see Instagrams organic reach start to decline but I guess when it’s owned by Facebook it was bound to happen. Also I had a Facebook ad halfway through the article 🤣

  16. Jay – Enjoyed this post. I totally agree with you on limiting or eliminating social media. By the way, never get rid of the roll up doors. I have a double-car garage with a single door. LIving in SOCal where it’s still 90 almost every day, I would love to hav two doors!

  17. Jay, this is why I follow you, I like your honesty, no-bull (or gimmicks) attitude, and the fact that you have such a good head on your shoulders! and Of course I like your great tutorials…. I spend less time on Social Media and get more done. I love the photos of the family. I can’t believe that your daughter is already one! I remember the amazing announcement last year. She looks happy! She is beautiful . Keep up the good work Jay. Just follow what feels right to you and your family. Wishing you all the best!

  18. Great post Jay. I really have enjoyed watching your channel / website and learning from you over the recent past. It’s refreshing to see someone who’s so grounded while pursuing your key goals that you’ve articulated so clearly here. Completely agree with your views and approach and intend to follow you on your website.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.